Carhartt Inc.’s workwear is now available for women.

In May, the women’s apparel and accessories will hit thousands of doors nationwide that already carry Carhartt for men, including Sears and Bass Pro Shops, after being tested last fall at 150 retailers.

More than a quarter of Carhartt’s customers are already women, according to the Dearborn, Mich., company. “Active workers in the blue collar trade are increasingly women, and there is really a gap in the marketplace for women’s workwear,” said Jill Makinen, Carhartt’s women’s category product manager. “The men’s products don’t fit them, and products from the sportswear and outdoor markets are not made for that durability.”

Initially, the Carhartt for Women line will consist of jeans, dungarees, knit shirts, sweatshirts, outerwear and accessories, in a female fit in the men’s looks. “Women’s is our fastest-growing segment,” Makinen said. “As we go forward, we are trying to outfit the woman from head to toe, for all of the climates and work types that she could work in.”

While the men’s line has almost 500 styles, the new female line has around 40, which wholesale from $6 to $60. Makinen said the women’s line ultimately could match the men’s business, which began in 1889. The firm declined to give a volume projection for the women’s line.

This story first appeared in the January 24, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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