Carhartt announced that it is partnering with the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC) by dedicating the third floor of its Cass Avenue retail location to the organization. In addition, the company is also making an in-kind donation of apparel manufacturing equipment to help support the organization’s launch plans.
The announcement was made Monday evening at the Made in Detroit: Moving the Apparel Industry Forward event, hosted by Pure Michigan Business Connect, a program under the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in collaboration with ISAIC.
The relationship between the organizations is the result of a shared vision between Carhartt and ISAIC; both organizations have 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 center of excellence for sewn trades, helping to bridge the training of traditional skills with those for emerging technologies. There, the organization 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 center 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.
Ryan Michael, director of Pure Michigan Business Connect, added, “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. 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.”
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,” said 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.”