Workwear maker Carhartt has partnered with designer Adam Kimmel to launch a co-branded line that will make its debut at retail in May. The line will be sold at Barneys New York and a small number of specialty retailers in the U.S., in addition to stores internationally.
The launch collection encompasses 29 pieces, including outerwear, jeans, plaid flannel shirts and pants in moleskin or cotton twill. Accessories in the line include a duffel and tote bag as well as cotton cashmere beanies. Retail prices will range from $70 to $600.
This story first appeared in the January 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’ve worn Carhartt since I was 10 years old and for me it’s a chance to expand my business in a romantic way,” said Kimmel, who founded his signature men’s wear label in 2004 in New York and sells to about 80 stores worldwide including Barneys, Maxfield, The Webster, Colette in Paris and Dover Street Market in London. “Carhartt is an American heritage brand and it’s really maintained the integrity and quality of the product and kept a focus on their core customer over the years. This is the perfect marriage.”
The collaboration was sparked by Jay Bell, Barneys’ vice president and divisional merchandise manager for men’s designer collections and contemporary sportswear, who originated the idea of the co-branded line and brought the two parties together. Barneys will sell the collection in its nine flagship doors.
Highlights of the first Adam Kimmel Carhartt collection include a quilted blazer in moleskin, a canvas artist’s coat and a denim shirt that’s lined in brushed cotton. Key color themes are deep blue, black, indigo and gray. Kimmel changed the color scheme of the exterior Carhartt logo from the usual gold and deep crimson to a navy blue and red.
“A lot of the pieces are lined in a very soft brushed cotton and you can feel the quality when you put them on. My goal was to update the silhouettes and soften the fabrics up. There’s amazing value in the prices and it’s an opportunity for me to reach a different shopper at a lower price point than my own line,” said Kimmel, who shows in Paris and has often incorporated workwear themes into his designer collections.
This is the first designer collaboration for Carhartt in the U.S., although the company has previously partnered with A.P.C., Vans and Burton in European markets. Adam Kimmel Carhartt will be sold for at least two seasons, with the potential for additional seasons.
“This is an opportunity to reach people outside of our core demographic, which is primarily blue-collar workers,” said Mark Valade, chief executive officer of Dearborn, Mich.-based Carhartt and descendent of company founder Hamilton Carhartt, who founded the company in 1889.