As consumers become aware of how different fashion brands manufacture garments and accessories, many consumers now want to relate to fashion brands that embrace ethical practices. For example, it is common to find those who intend to purchase Carhartt clothing products asking whether Carhartt is fast fashion.
Carhartt is not a fast-fashion brand. However, even if the company has production in countries with low production costs, Carhartt products are of high quality and are highly durable. Moreover, Carhartt uses natural fabrics and designs new original products. In addition, Carhartt products are not the cheapest in the market.
This article focuses on the topic of fast fashion in the context of Carhartt as it looks at whether Carhartt is fast fashion or not.
What Is Fast Fashion?
As the name suggests, fast fashion is ‘fast’ because everything to do with fast fashion is done hurriedly.
Fast fashion entails clothing and accessories that move swiftly from the catwalk to the fashion stores to capitalize on the latest trends. Thus, designs of fast fashion products are based on the styles featured at fashion runway shows or have been worn by celebrities.
Fast fashion appeals to consumers since it offers the latest fashion trends at low and affordable prices.
Even though fast fashion offers the latest fashion trends at low prices, it has devastating impacts on different stakeholders. For that reason, some people have considered fast fashion to be unethical.
One of the reasons fast fashion is perceived to be unethical is that it has a devastating impact on the environment. Indeed, fast fashion products are made with synthetic fabrics that are not degradable.
Thus, once disposed of, the products end up in landfills. Moreover, the production of synthetic fibers contributes to greenhouse emissions, and as a result, synthetic fabrics are now considered a leading polluter of the environment.
Workers working in factories where fast fashion products are manufactured work in terrible conditions as they have to work for long hours and in unsafe settings while earning low pay. Indeed, in some cases, child labor is alleged to be involved in manufacturing fast fashion products.
From a consumer’s perspective, fast fashion hurts consumers’ wallets. That is the case because fast fashion offers consumers a replica of trendy designs that only last a few wears.
Taking into consideration the ethical concerns around fast fashion, we can understand why different consumers are keen to find out whether different fashion brands are fast fashion or not. Indeed, any consumer who supports ethical practices is likely to boycott any fashion brand categorized as fast fashion.
Why Carhartt Is Not A Fast Fashion
Considering the definition of fast fashion and the different characteristics, Carhartt has some aspects that make it a fast-fashion brand and a non-fast-fashion brand.
First, let’s look at why Carhartt does not qualify as a fast fashion.
Carhartt Is Not Cheap
One of the main features of fast fashion is that products are sold at a low price. While the price of most Carhartt products is compared to the price of other alternative products, Carhartt prices are higher.
For instance, the standard price of a Carhartt jacket is between $65 and $100, while other competing jackets sold by Carhartt competitors that are fast fashion cost about $50.
Indeed, the fact that there are other cheaper fashion brands than Carhartt implies that Carhartt does not qualify to be categorized as a fast fashion as far as the price of Carhartt products is concerned.
Carhartt Are Durable
One of the main characteristics of Carhartt that make many people pay a price that is higher than the price charged by other Carhartt competitors is that Carhartt products last longer.
Fast fashion products are supposed to be worn a few times before they wear out and be disposed of. Thus, by ensuring that Carhartt’s are durable, Carhartt is the opposite of a fast-fashion brand, and as such, it does not qualify to be referred to as a fast fashion.
Carhartt Uses Natural Fabrics
One of the standard features of fast fashion brands is that they mainly use synthetic fabrics. Using synthetic fabrics is that synthetic materials are cheaper than natural fabrics since they are made in the lab.
Carhartt is not a fast-fashion brand since it mainly uses natural fabrics. In particular, 100% cotton is used to make most Carhartt products, such as shirts, trousers, and T-shirts. Other natural fabrics used by Carhartt are wool and leather.
Production Facility In The USA
To keep production costs low and make profits while selling products at low prices, fast fashion brands manufacture their products in countries with low production costs.
Even if Carhartt has some of its products manufactured in foreign countries with low production costs, such as Bangladesh, Mexico, and China, a high percentage of Carhartt products sold in the USA are manufactured in the USA and have Made in the USA tag.
Thus, the fact that the company has USA based production facility implies that the company does not qualify to be referred to as a fast fashion.
Carhartt Does Not Introduce New Products Regularly
Fast fashion brands introduce new trendy products regularly. A regular basis in this context can be a few weeks or a month.
Carhartt does not introduce new trendy products regularly. Indeed, some of the most popular products sold by the company have retained the same design for many years.
For example, the Carhartt Sandstone jacket line had been on the market for more than a decade before it was discontinued in 2021.
Carhartt Has Own Unique Product Design
Fast fashion brands mainly copy designs that are either featured on runway fashion catwalks or are worn by celebrates.
Carhartt products are uniquely designed by the company’s team of in-house designers. The designers do not imitate any existing designs as they are mandated to come up with unique designs that make Carhartt stand out from other competing fashion brands.
Carhartt Offers Expected Service Life Warranty
A fast-fashion brand cannot offer a warranty on its products. Fast-fashion products last a short time, and as such, offering any warranty will not be appealing to the target customers.
Besides, consumers buying fast fashion are always aware that the apparel they purchase can only be used a few times before they are either worn out or are out of style and have to be replaced with new trends.
Carhartt offers a quality warranty on all its products. The company’s legendary founder, Hamilton Carhartt, remarked that “if it carries the name Carhartt, its performance is legendary.”
Carhartt should, therefore, not be considered a fast-fashion brand since the company’s products are supposed to last a long time, as proved by the warranty that the company offers.
Why Carhartt Is A Fast Fashion
Production In Countries With Low Production Costs
One of the main features of a fast-fashion brand is that it has production of its products based in countries with low production costs. Initially, Carhartt products were mainly produced in USA and Mexico.
However, with the introduction of a sub-label brand named Carhartt Work In Progress, 33% of Carhartt’s products are now produced in Europe, the Middle East, and African countries.
Even though Carhartt has noted that the Work In Progress sub-label products are mainly sold overseas, various urban wear products sold in the US market by Carhartt are manufactured in foreign countries with low production costs.
Thus, the fact that some of the company’s products are manufactured in different countries with low production costs implies that Carhartt can be considered a fast-fashion brand from that perspective.
Abuse Of Worker’s Rights
Fast fashion brands are focused on making profits and will do anything to ensure that they maximize their profits. Among others, a fast-fashion brand prioritizes profits at the expense of its employees’ welfare.
Even if Carhartt has not in the past been accused of abusing employee rights, the company came under the limelight in early 2022 as it demanded that all employees get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Such directives by Carhartt make the company appear to be a fast-fashion company since the directives are only centered on how the company can maximize its profits, even if it means neglecting employee rights.
Even though there are aspects of Carhartt’s operations that make the company appear as a fast fashion brand, Carhartt is not a fast-fashion brand. The company does not introduce new products regularly, it does not use synthetic fabrics, and its design is not imitations of the latest catwalk trends.
Therefore, just like Lululemon, even if Carhartt has some characteristics that make the brand appear as if it is fast fashion, the brand is not fast fashion.