Howies and the slow drift down river

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love the Howies brand. A year or so ago, I described them as a star brand. But a little before that I had been very critical of them for missing their target audience (by miles!) with their hand me down range. Well it seems like i’m not the only one that is thinking the same way. I have a watch on ebay to see what comes up from lots of the brands I love and when I saw this, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

A treasured collection of 29 Howies catalogues dating back to 2002

My first instinct was to want to buy them as they grace the shelves beautifully of any designer. But when you scroll down and see what the seller fuzzywiggins has said, it makes you realise quite how far the brand has drifted down river from where it used to be.

29 Howies Catalogues     From 2002 to Autumn 2010     If you know Howies you know these are so much more than just clothing catalogues, they're loaded with interesting stories and info...  These books contain the story of how a once ethical and environmentally sound clothing company catering for active types morphed into purveyor of £200 chinese jeans for the middle aged bourgeois hobbyist.     Enjoy the tales of the joy of canoeing to work, or building a half pipe in the back garden. Better still the exhilaration of travelling around Ireland in a V8 powered Winebago (Go Wales' Bio diesel fueled van must have failed its MOT?)     Like the sea, Howies...
29 Howies Catalogues From 2002 to Autumn 2010

This description crucifies them for what they have done with the brand. These catalogues are clearly being sold as the owner of all of them has so totally fallen out of love with what Howies do and what Howies now stand for. I have to say, it is now some time since I bought anything from them. I just wouldn’t pay £200 for a pair of jeans – by anyone, let alone £200 plus for a waterproof mac.

My advice. Buy Timberland out. They must realise they made a mistake with a little provincial company like Howies. Let Howies go back to where they were, what they stood for and what we all loved about it. Howies has sadly become a pseudo corporate business, whereas before they just made beautiful clothes that really lasted, for people who were into skate, surf and biking.


An almost complete Howies catalogue collection that sold for £51 on ebay
An almost complete Howies catalogue collection that sold for £51 on ebay

They went for £51, which seems like an awful lot of money, but they do represent some of the best pieces of design for print that i’ve seen for many years.

Shame they sold their soul on the way there.