Carhartt Work in Progress moves and expands SoHo store – WWD
The third time is a charm – but the first and second times were also very good.
Carhartt Work in Progress, the trendy streetwear-inspired collection inspired by the classic workwear brand, has moved its New York store for the third time. But the mark has not budged far. In fact, it’s the third location in the same building where it first set up shop in 2011.
“This is our third iteration,” said Steve Wolski, general manager for North America of the Basel, Switzerland-based company, of the new location at 286 Lafayette Street, a building that has entrances on the Lafayette and Crosby streets. The first Carhartt WIP store opened on Crosby Street and in 2017 moved to a larger 1,000 square foot location on Lafayette. Now it has nearly doubled in size to 1,800 square feet and has entrances on both streets.
“We had a lot more traffic when we moved from Crosby to Lafayette,” Wolski said. He expects interest to increase further as buyers experience the larger, airier space.
“We were two doors down, but it was small and we were locked in,” he said. “It was often crowded in there and there were queues in the block.”
The expanded space allows the brand to offer a more comprehensive selection of men’s and women’s merchandise. “We have quite a large collection, but we couldn’t show it the way we wanted to,” Wolski said. “Now we can offer more colors, styles and options.”
Wolski said the top sellers have historically been jackets and pants, particularly the Detroit chore coat and jacket, tailored cargo pants, and the Sid pants, slim tapered chinos. Prices for this collection are significantly higher than Carhartt’s main line and average around $150 for pants and $175 to $325 for jackets.
The new store, mainly men’s, also offers a wide selection of t-shirts, shorts, swimwear, bucket hats and bags. “We’ve seen people come back to shop in person, so now is the time,” he said.
While Carhartt WIP has more than 90 stores in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are only two in the United States: SoHo in New York and on South La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, which opened in 2019. It opened its first store in London in 1997.
Wolski said there are no plans to open additional stores in the United States at this time, but “we see the demand, so we’ll look deeper.” The company also operates a US-based website and has 120 wholesale customers in the US, mostly specialty stores, and about 30 in Canada.
The Carhartt Co. was founded by Hamilton Carhartt in Detroit in 1889 as a workwear brand and is still owned and operated by his descendants. In 1989, Swiss national Edwin Faeh began importing workwear to Europe. He holds the worldwide license for the line.
Faeh created Carhartt WIP in 1994, offering fashionable alternatives inspired by the basic utilitarian collection. WIP quickly found favor with the local subculture and over the years has collaborated with trendy brands such as APC, Converse, Fragment Design, Junya Watanabe, Nike, Vetement, Underground Resistance and Motown. It also has its own skate team, music department and magazine.
Carhartt WIP operates independently from Carhartt, which is based in Dearborn, Michigan, but the two work closely together, Wolski said.
The store will have its official opening on June 2.