Dearborn, MI-based workwear brand Carhartt notified customers on Wednesday, August 17 that nine styles of its flame-resistant sweatshirts showed inconsistencies in testing and may not meet performance standards for industrial garments. Though the company has received no reports of injuries or product failures, it has asked for all affected garments to be returned for a refund.
“Carhartt takes seriously the safety of our hardworking customers,” said Linda Hubbard, president and chief operating officer of Carhartt in a statement. “We’re committed to continuous improvement in our products and processes and will continue to work to meet and exceed industry standards.”
The affected products are Carhartt’s FR Thermal-Lined Full-Zip Sweatshirt (100647), Flame-Resistant Heavyweight Klondike Sweatshirt (101203), FR Klondike Sweatshirt (101247), Flame Resistant Striped Klondike Sweatshirt (101700), Flame-Resistant Thermal Lined Sweatshirt (101702), Flame-Resistant Klondike Hood (101951), Flame-Resistant Heavyweight Hooded Sweatshirt (FRK006), Flame-Resistant Heavyweight Zip-Front Hooded Sweatshirt (FRK007) and FR Crewneck Pullover Sweatshirt (FRK127). Customers can contact the company at (888) 894-7601 for details on returning the product. No other Carhartt products are affected by the voluntary product notification, according to the company.
Industry suppliers that carry Carhartt products say they’ve already pulled the listed items from their lineups and don’t believe the product notification will adversely affect their business. Erin Tricker, vice president of sales at Broberry Manufacturing (asi/42057), says her company is also working with Carhartt to notify clients who purchased the garments and offer them replacement or refund options. Midwest Workwear (asi/71127) carries several other brands of flame-resistant sweatshirts, according to president Don Grissman, so the notification from Carhartt is unlikely to damage sales.
Suppliers don’t believe the news will hurt Carhartt’s longstanding trustworthiness. The product notification was the result of independent testing, not required by industry standards, showing the brand’s “true leadership,” Tricker told Counselor. It’s not unusual for Carhartt to quality test products and pull them if necessary, Grissman said. “This is an ongoing process at Carhartt to maintain the highest quality,” he added. “They take every garment seriously.”
Craig Smith, vice president of sales for Rugged Outfitters (asi/84143) pointed out that the recall targeted a very small section of product line, only on specific flame resistant sweatshirts that didn’t meet the labeled rating. He told Counselor that he expected sales of the brand to be “higher than ever,” adding that “the working person knows that this is the only brand to wear for quality and value.”
Fred Haws, owner of Carhartt Workwear & Haws USA Inc. (asi/43861), told Counselor he believes the voluntary product notification is a testament to the brand’s values. “Carhartt has not sold out like other large brands,” he added. “I think this is an excellent example of where you can see that they are providing surplus value beyond commerce. . . this is why Haws is a Carhartt account because our values match closely to theirs. And we will support our customers through this, however we need to.”