The third time’s a charm — but the first and second times were pretty good, too.
Carhartt Work in Progress, the buzzy streetwear-inspired collection inspired by the classic workwear brand, has relocated its New York City store for the third time. But the brand hasn’t moved far. In fact, this is the third location within the same building where it first put down roots in 2011.
“This is our third iteration,” said Steve Wolski, general manager North America for the Basel, Switzerland-based company of the new location at 286 Lafayette Street, a building that has entrances on both Lafayette and Crosby Streets. The first Carhartt WIP store opened on Crosby Street and in 2017, it relocated to a larger 1,000-square-foot location on Lafayette. Now it has nearly doubled its space again to 1,800 square feet and has entrances on both streets.
“We got a lot more traffic when we moved from Crosby to Lafayette,” Wolski said. He’s expecting the interest to be heightened even further as shoppers experience the larger, more airy space.
“We were two doors over but it was small and we were boxed in,” he said. “It was often crowded in there and there were lines down the block.”
The expanded space allows the brand to offer a more comprehensive selection of merchandise for men as well as women. “We have quite a large collection but we weren’t able to show it how we wanted,” Wolski said. “Now we can offer more color, styles and options.”
Wolski said the top sellers have historically been the jackets and pants, specifically the chore coat and Detroit jacket, a slim-fit cargo pant, and the Sid pant, a slim tapered chino. Price points for this collection are significantly higher than the core Carhartt line and average around $150 for pants and $175 to $325 for jackets.
The new store, which is primarily menswear, also offers a wide selection of T-shirts, shorts, swimwear, bucket hats and bags. “We’ve seen people come back to shopping in person again, so the timing is right,” he said.
Although Carhartt WIP has more than 90 stores in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are only two in the 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 U.S. at this time, but “we see the demand so we’ll be looking deeper.” The company also operates a U.S.-based website and has 120 wholesale customers in the U.S., mainly specialty stores, and some 30 in Canada.
The Carhartt Co. was founded by Hamilton Carhartt in Detroit in 1889 as a workwear brand and it is still owned and operated by his descendants. In 1989, Swiss national Edwin Faeh started importing the workwear to Europe. He holds the global license for the line.
Faeh created Carhartt WIP in 1994, offering trendy alternatives inspired by the utilitarian core collection. WIP soon found favor among the subculture there and over the years has collaborated with buzzy brands including A.P.C., Converse, Fragment Design, Junya Watanabe, Nike, Vetement, Underground Resistance and Motown. It also has its own skate team, a music department and a 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.