Dearborn’s Carhartt Gives Space for Industrial Sewing, Innovation Center to Build Trades in Detroit

Dearborn-based Carhartt, a workwear brand, is partnering with the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center by dedicating the third floor of its Cass Avenue retail location to the organization. Carhartt is also making a donation of apparel manufacturing equipment to help support the center’s launch plans.
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Carhartt products
Carhartt, which makes work clothes, has opened a section of its Cass Avenue retail location to the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center to train workers. // Photo courtesy of Carhartt

Dearborn-based Carhartt, a workwear brand, is partnering with the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center by dedicating the third floor of its Cass Avenue retail location to the organization. Carhartt is also making a donation of apparel manufacturing equipment to help support the center’s launch plans.

“At Carhartt, we believe Detroiters are some of the hardest-working, resilient, resourceful people on the planet,” says 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.”

The center will turn the donated space into a hub for sewn trades in an effort to bridge the training of traditional skills with those for emerging technologies. There, the organization will provide apprenticeships and use the space for a worker-owned pilot apparel manufacturing facility. The initiatives will 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 center for the apparel manufacturing industry,” says Detroit 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 was established in 1889 when Hamilton Carhartt began producing overalls with two sewing machines and a half-horsepower electric motor.

“At the (Michigan Economic Development Corp.), we take pride in our state’s legacy of making things in Michigan, from the first automobile to the latest in fashion designs,” says Ryan Michael, director of Pure Michigan Business Connect. “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.

“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.”

Carhartt is family owned and operated by Hamilton Carhartt’s descendants. It has more than 5,500 associates worldwide.

“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,” says Jen Guarino, chair of the center’s board and vice president 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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