Detroit Free Press: Jeff Stoltman on prominence of Carhartt in pop culture

Last month, the Dearborn-based apparel company Carhartt was thrust into the spotlight when a leaked email from its CEO to staff said it would continue with its vaccine mandate – despite the U.S. Supreme Court saying it, and other private companies, did not have to abide by the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing rule that set off court fights and division among workers. The email was widely circulated on social media, with some praising the company’s commitment to worker safety and others criticizing the brand – which they associated with more rural, conservative consumers – for mandating their employees to get vaccinated. The brand has continued to expand its reach, without alienating the blue-collar worker at the core of its customer base. Recently, the brand has been prominently featured on the show “Yellowstone,” which follows a family as they protect their ranch. Jeff Stoltman, a professor of marketing at the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University noted the rise of the show’s popularity is concurrent with a movement of younger people out to the western U.S. “They’re yearning for that simplicity,” Stoltman said. “There’s a lot of forces that are converging on: ‘What do you wear when you’re an outdoorsy person?’”

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