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Carhartt Vs Carhartt WIP: Differences And How To Choose

December 21, 2022
Carhartt Vs Carhartt WIP: Differences And How To Choose

If you live in the US, chances are you’ve heard of Carhartt and know it to be a reliable workwear apparel brand. However, you may not have heard of Carhartt WIP. 

So, what’s the difference between Carhartt and Carhartt WIP?

Carhartt is the main original clothing brand and is known for selling reliable workwear and outdoor apparel mainly to the US market. Carhartt WIP is a division of the main brand and has a separate clothing line. It is more fashion-focused and sells mainly to European and Asian markets. 

In short, that’s the answer.

But let’s discuss some of the differences between Carhartt and Carhartt WIP in more detail.

Please note that this article is based on independent research and is true only to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing. 

Carhartt Vs Carhartt WIP: 7 Key Differences

Here I’ll go through some of their main differences step by step.

1.  Separate Divisions Of The Same Brand

First things first, let’s clarify how Carhartt and Carhartt WIP actually relate to each other.

Carhartt is the original clothing brand that was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1889 by Hamilton Carhartt.

Carhartt WIP (which stands for World in Progress), is an offshoot of the main Carhartt brand, which was founded in 1989.

This was when German designers Edwin and Salomée Faeh started to sell original Carhartt clothing to the European market. 

In 1994 they obtained a licensing deal to create their own lines of clothing under the name Carhartt WIP that would be mainly sold to the European and Asian markets.

As you can see, therefore, Carhartt is the main overall clothing brand, whereas Carhartt WIP is a division of Carhartt that was formed 100 years after Carhartt was originally founded.

2. Different Clothing Lines 

As I mentioned above, in 1994 a license was obtained meaning that the German designers Edwin and Salomée Faeh were allowed to create their own lines of clothing to be sold under the name Carhartt WIP.

In other words, after 1994 the clothing lines sold by the original Carhartt and those sold by Carhartt WIP were different, and they still remain different to this day.

Original Carhartt is known for selling everyday reliable workwear geared towards the working person.

Carhartt WIP took the staple designs of original Carhartt clothing and altered them to suit the European markets, putting more of an emphasis on fashion trends than just creating more practical workwear.

Carhartt WIP is now known for being a cornerstone of fashionable streetwear in the European and Asian markets, and even the US now has Carhartt WIP stores because of its popularity. 

Carhartt WIP has also collaborated with several other fashion brands over the years.

This is reflected in the fact that the clothing designs of Carhartt WIP tend to be edgier, more slim-fitting, and more fashion-forward compared with the functional designs of original Carhartt workwear.

So even though they share a similar name, the clothing sold under Carhartt and Carhartt WIP comes from completely separate clothing lines with distinct design differences.

3. Target Market 

Another difference between Carhartt and Carhartt WIP is the target market each brand division sells to.

Given that the clothing lines sold by each brand division are different, it makes sense that they would also differ in the audience they are trying to attract.

Carhartt, which is known for its classical practical workwear and outerwear, will naturally attract buyers who work in a manual job or outdoor environment. 

They also have a target audience amongst people just looking for some practical clothing for an outdoor hobby such as camping or fishing, for example.

Because of this, the target market of Carhartt is likely to be the older working individual, looking for a reliable and durable piece of clothing at a sensible cost. A lot of Carhartt’s demographic is in the US, given that it was founded here. 

Carhartt WIP, on the other hand, markets itself as a fashion brand, which means it attracts a different demographic.

Carhartt WIP is popular with the skater crowd in Europe, and with a younger demographic in general, given its focus on being fashion-forward. 

Their target market is mainly in Europe and Asia, but it is gathering a following in the US too given its popularity in other parts of the world.

4. Price 

As Carhartt and Carhartt WIP sell different clothing lines geared towards different target markets, it can be expected that they will sell their merchandise at different costs.

Carhartt WIP is on the whole more expensive compared with the original Carhartt.

A lot of this is to do with the fact that Carhartt WIP markets itself as a fashion brand, whereas Carhartt is a practical workwear brand.

As a fashion wear brand, Carhartt WIP will have a heftier price tag, simply because fashion wear is often more expensive than practical clothing.

Carhartt, although not extremely cheap, is more affordable because it promotes itself on selling good quality, good value products to the working person.  

In general, a jacket at Carhartt WIP may cost upwards of $200, whereas a similar jacket from Carhartt is more in the region of $100. 

Prices do vary, so it’s always best to check the brand website for the latest cost.

5. Separate Websites 

A more practical difference between the two brand divisions is the fact that they have completely separate websites.

This makes sense given that each brand division carries a separate clothing line aimed towards different target markets.

Some brands will share a web space with their subsidiary brands, however often this is because the clothing lines are similar or the target market for each subsidiary overlaps.

However, this isn’t the case with Carhartt and Carhartt WIP, and given that their main target markets are in different parts of the world it makes sense for them to have individual websites.

6. Durability

Another difference between Carhartt and Carhartt WIP is the durability of their merchandise.

Although both clothing lines are of good quality, on the whole, original Carhartt clothing is more durable.

This makes sense if you consider that Carhartt makes clothing suitable for workwear and outdoor working environments and so it needs to be hardy and made of more durable materials.

Carhartt WIP clothing, on the other hand, is mainly streetwear, so the need for it to be extremely durable isn’t there.

This isn’t to say that Carhatt WIP clothing won’t last – in fact, its quality and stitching feels high-end. 

It simply isn’t as indestructible as the workwear clothing Carhartt sells, simply because it doesn’t need to be.

7. Sizing

The final difference to discuss is that of sizing.

On the whole, Carhartt WIP clothing tends to size smaller compared with Carhartt.

Part of this is due to the slimmer cuts that the Carhatt WIP designs are made up of, which makes them more ‘fashionable’ than the less fitted workwear clothing made by Carhartt. 

It may also be that Carhartt WIP has a large market in Europe and Asia, where the sizes often run smaller.

Generally, it’s safe to say that WIP mostly runs smaller than Carhartt, and to factor this in if you are shopping online. 

Carhartt Vs Carhartt WIP: How To Choose

So, now you have an idea of how Carhartt and Carhartt WIP differ. 

Now we can discuss some of the factors to consider to help you decide how to choose between them.

1. Budget

When deciding between shopping from Carhartt or Carhartt WIP, factoring in your budget will likely be a big influence.

Whilst neither Carhartt nor Carhartt WIP would be considered cheap brands, Carhartt is noticeably less expensive overall compared with Carhartt WIP.

As I mentioned before, a jacket at Carhartt WIP can be double the cost of a similar jacket from Carhartt.

Therefore if you are sticking to a tight budget, Carhartt may give you more options to choose from.

2. Function

Something else to consider when deciding between these two brand divisions is what type of clothing you’re looking for and what occasion you will be wearing it for.

Given that Carhartt merchandise is mainly workwear-related apparel, then this is the choice for you if you are looking for some practical outerwear or work clothing.

Carhartt items are likely to be made of more durable materials that are needed for practical work clothing and to keep you safe and dry from the elements if working outdoors.

If you are simply looking for a piece of fashionable clothing to add to your wardrobe, then Carhartt WIP is the better choice for day-to-day street fashion items with a workwear twist.

Neither clothing line is known for smart clothes for evening events, so if this is what you’re looking for then it’s best to look elsewhere.

3. Shopping Online Vs In-Store

As I mentioned before, Carhartt is most well known in the US, whereas Carhartt WIP is more established in Europe and parts of Asia.

You’re therefore going to find a lot more brick and mortar Carhartt stores in the US than in other parts of the world, and a lot more Carhartt WIP stores in Europe and Asia than in the US.

If you prefer to shop in-store, then, your choice will be limited to what is available in your area in terms of brick-and-mortar stores, so this is something to consider when choosing between these two brand divisions.

On the other hand, if you’re a pro at online shopping, then you’ll be able to access both Carhartt and Carhartt WIP for your shopping needs.


So there you have it; I hope you’re now a little clearer on the differences between Carhartt and Carhartt WIP and have an idea of how to choose between them.

Whichever you choose, you’re sure to find something you like as both are great staples in the clothing and fashion world.