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Carhartt and ISAIC to promote apparel industry in Detroit

Workwear brand dedicates third floor retail space and makes in-kind donation of manufacturing equipment to the organisation.

17th May 2019

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Dearborn, MI

Protective, Clothing/​Footwear

The announcement was made last week at the Made in Detroit: Moving the Apparel Industry Forward event, hosted by Pure Michigan Business Connect, a programme under the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in collaboration with ISAIC.

The relationship between the organisations is the result of a shared vision between Carhartt and ISAIC; both organisations have a desire to support the hardest working people in America, a mutual passion for Detroit and a commitment to workforce and skilled trade development. “At Carhartt, we believe Detroiters are some of the hardest-working, resilient, resourceful people on the planet,” said Tony Ambroza, Chief Brand Officer at Carhartt. “We couldn’t agree more with ISAIC – this is the right time and place to build and grow the apparel industry.”


ISAIC will transform the donated space into a national centre of excellence for sewn trades, helping to bridge the training of traditional skills with those for emerging technologies. There, the organisation will provide ongoing apprenticeships to move the apparel industry forward. ISAIC also intends to use the space for a worker-owned pilot apparel manufacturing facility in the coming months. The combined ISAIC initiatives will help to further the emerging apparel industry in Detroit and create opportunities for workforce and skilled trade development.

“Detroit always has been a place where things are made and we are seeing increasing interest in Detroit as a centre for the apparel manufacturing industry,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “I am deeply appreciative to Carhartt and ISAIC for their efforts to train Detroiters for the jobs we expect to become available in our city in the garment manufacturing industry.”


Carhartt’s history with the city of Detroit runs deep. In 1889, its founder, Hamilton Carhartt, began producing overalls with two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor. For more than 130 years, Carhartt has led the apparel industry in manufacturing rugged gear to serve and protect hardworking people.

“At the MEDC, we take pride in our state’s legacy of making things in Michigan, from the first automobile to the latest in fashion designs. That is why we are pleased to help support this growing industry by bringing together designers, investors and fashion brands to connect right here in Detroit, said Ryan Michael, director of Pure Michigan Business Connect.

“The PMBC is committed to facilitating matchmaking opportunities between key stakeholders like Shinola and Carhartt and industry professionals to help businesses grow in Michigan. Detroit is a natural textiles hub and having this event here is a further testament to the strength of the apparel manufacturing industry in Michigan.”

Closing skilled trades gap

Together, Carhartt and ISAIC intend to help close the skilled trades gap (including apparel manufacturing), elevate the perception of careers in the trades and advocate for the skilled worker’s way of life.

“ISAIC will serve the rapidly changing apparel industry by providing a people-centric environment, ongoing learning, equity in growth and a commitment to ethical practices,” explained Jen Guarino, Chair of ISAIC’s board and VP of Manufacturing at Shinola. “Carhartt’s contribution to ISAIC reflects the company’s long held commitment to providing apparel for workers and supporting the work they perform. We couldn’t think of a partnership more ideal than this.”

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