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Made by Hand: Carhartt Made in USA

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Published on Oct 5, 2012

Get a closer look at our factories located right here in America and the hardworking men and women behind the scenes.

Lately we’ve noticed a lot more interest in where our 127-year old family-owned business is based and where we make our products. We think that’s a good thing, because it’s an important discussion. We take great pride in what we do, so it’s also important to us that our customers have the right information about us. We’re not going to go on and on about decades of policy decisions, business challenges, competition, etc. So, if you’re so inclined to read on, the following are details on how, in spite of decades of hurdles put in front of us, we remain as committed to the American worker as our Founder, Hamilton Carhartt was.

For starters, while we have sewing facilities around the globe, we're proud that we have and always will make products here in the U.S.A. As a matter of fact, over the past 15 years our facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee have made more than 80 million garments and accessories in the U.S. Which is why we continue to make more rugged workwear here than anyone else. Many of these items are our core, tried and true Carhartts that millions of hard working Americans depend on – from the Lineman who keep the lights on, to the Farmer who grows our food. Our 1000 proudly unionized workers take pride in this work and stand behind every stitch. Would we like to surpass our own U.S. production benchmarks? You bet. But even when we have an opportunity to increase our U.S. production, sometimes open sewing operator positions go unfilled. And yet we forge ahead, every day. It’s what we do.

But what about those tags you see with names of other Countries on them? The best example we can offer is the popularity of “sweat wicking” performance apparel made by sporting goods brands that many American workers already wear as a base layer. You might even be wearing one right now. Carhartt partnered with an American company called Cocona (Colorado) who have developed a superior body-temp regulating, quick-dry, odor-fighting garment technology. Over the past few years we’ve integrated their 37.5® Technology into select base layers and t-shirts – we call it Force Extremes. To compete with the big sporting goods apparel makers who manufacture these types of garments primarily oversees, we also assemble these garments in certified offshore sewing facilities. For these types of garments, we offer a choice to you as a consumer – buy a performance base layer from a company that doesn’t make anything here, or from us, a company that still makes many of its core items in the U.S.

We were founded in Detroit in 1889. Since then, our headquarters has moved just 10 miles. For 127 years, the family business has been run here, the apparel has been designed here, and members of the Carhartt family continue to work here. But where we’re based and where we manufacture our garments is just one part of the equation. Who we source from is also important. For example, in 2015 alone we purchased the following from our U.S. suppliers: enough fabric from Mt. Vernon Mills (Georgia) equating to 19.5 million pounds of cotton; 32 million buttons, 2 million rivets, and 43.3 million snaps from YKK Snap USA (Kentucky); 14 million sliders and 6.2 million yards of zipper chain from YKK Snap USA (Georgia); 5 million knit cuffs, 1 million+ knit bands, and 130,000 knit collars from Straus Knitting Mills (Minnesota); 990,000 drawcords from Franklin Braid Manufacturing (Virginia); 320,000 drawcords from Green Mountain Knitting (Vermont); 1.1 million+ drawcords from Hope Global (Rhode Island). We don’t have a reportable figure on the number of U.S. jobs we indirectly support, but we know that these great partners work as hard as we do to help Americans make a life here.

You have many choices as a consumer – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You can purchase from the companies who copy our styles, yet offshore 100% of their goods. You can purchase from smaller companies who make 100% of their goods here, but may not have the assortment you need. Either way, on behalf of our more than 2000 U.S.-based employees, we hope you consider Carhartt. And if you don’t, we thank you for your interest in our ability to remain competitive and contribute to our Nation's economy.

United, we outwork them all.

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