Carhartt's durable workwear is already suited for long life, but a new collaboration with Converse extends it even further via reincarnation.
The two brands are launching limited-edition Chuck 70s made of pre-worn work jackets, pants, and overalls sourced by the British vintage retailer Beyond Retro. Technically, you could say four brands are involved, as the collaboration comes under Carhartt's more stylish Work in Progress (WIP) offshoot.
Each pair is one of a kind — Because the panels come from pre-worn canvas, no two sneakers will be exactly alike. But looking at them, it's hard to tell the fabric has already been used. There are no stains from someone who presumably works harder than you — although that would also have its own charm.
The tri-panel design features three of Carhartt's standard colors: black, brown, and navy. For this limited run, 1,000 different garments were utilized. Overall, if you include Converse's existing upcycling collections — the Converse Renew Denim Collection and the Converse Renew Denim Tri-panel Collection — more than 108,000 textiles have been diverted from landfills.
Upcycling ain't perfect, but it's progress — As we've touched on before here at Input, upcycling isn't the ultimate solution for the vast amount of waste created by fashion brands and consumers. True sustainability would be a widespread commitment to buying less stuff. If all the clothes discarded prematurely around the world were spared such a fate, $460 billion in new clothing sales could be eliminated.
That makes projects like these, as well-intentioned as they are, all but trivial when compared to the scale of the problem. But if you're still determined to buy new things, at least upcycled apparel and footwear are less bad than the alternative. Our consumption habits are unlikely, if not impossible, to become perfect. The key is to not let fatalism prevent you from trying to do any better.
The Chucks are set to re-enter the market next week — Converse and Carhartt WIP's Chuck 70s will drop next Thursday, May 28, on the brands' respective websites and at select retailers.
If you do decide to pick them up, wear 'em into the ground like you're supposed to with Chucks and workwear alike. And perhaps consider picking up some more Carhartt from your local vintage shop to complete the look.