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Weather the weather

  • Posted by ade
  • 22 March 2013

Whatever the weather this weekend, dress for it and get out in it.

When you're home and changed with a cuppa, your pulsing thawing hands,
deeply aching thighs, burning cheeks and clear bloodshot eyes will be the reward.

The words of this old nursery rhyme says it all.

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

Plastic Bags?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 15 March 2013

To minimise our environmental impact, we try to use as little packaging as possible – we only bag stuff when we really need to.

So if you've been a customer of ours for a while, you may have noticed we’ve changed the material our bags are made of. They used to be paper, but now they're plastic.

We’ve switched to recyclable plastic as it is the most widely recycled material available in the UK at this time. They have less environmental impact than paper bags because they weigh less, take up less storage space and use less energy.

Likewise, we've found that recyclable plastic has less environmental impact than degradable plastic. This is because degradable plastic bags cannot be recycled or composted properly in the UK, so they end up as landfill. They leave small traces of plastic in the soil that never break down. They are also known to create more greenhouse gasses than conventional plastics and paper.

The change has had a big effect and more than halved the annual CO2 footprint of our packaging.

We don't pretend that recyclable plastic is perfect. But right now, it is the lowest impact way of packaging our stuff.

Click here to download the geeky analysis report from carbon footprint experts Tickety Boo.

Carbon Cycle

  • Posted by ruben
  • 7 March 2013

The carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about carbon footprinting. I have a friend who believed that owning and feeding a dog was more carbon intensive than owning and fueling a 4x4.

The truth is that depending on where you draw the boundaries you can prove anything with carbon footprinting. So if your 4x4 is super efficient and only drives 6,000 miles a year and if your dog eats loads of meat that has been reared just for it (i.e. not a by-product of other part of the meat industry and not mixed with vegetable/rice feed) then yes you can show that the 4x4 has a bigger footprint.

So I wasn’t that surprised to see that US Republican Ed Orcutt declare that the CO2 emissions from riding a bike are greater than that of driving a car. Clearly Mr Orcutt is deluded. Particularly as he cites the greater expiration of the cyclists as being the cause. We can ignore Mr Orcutt on the grounds of stupidity but the carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

Mike Berners-Lee in “How bad are bananas?” looks at the impact of cycling a mile. Now the interesting thing is that it depends on what you’ve eaten. This is the fuel for the bike. So if you are fueled by cheeseburgers the impact of cycling a mile is 260g of CO2e but if you are fueled by bananas this falls to 60g. These figures take into account the embodied impact of the bike per mile.

The embodied impact of a family car kept for 200,000 miles is 100g per mile plus the impact of burning a mile’s worth of fuel (between 150g and 200g per mile). But this doesn’t take into account the fact that the car driver will also have eaten food but that the calories from this food are not burnt off but accumulated. This in turn has a knock-on potential impact of running a health service to deal with those non-cyclists who become obese (note: not all non-cyclists become obese).

So the impact of driving a mile in a car is the impact of the fuel use, the embodied impact of the car and the impact of the food eaten by the driver. So if the driver eats cheeseburgers this gives a figure twice as large as that of a cheese burger eating cyclist.

Phew, that’s complex. The key thing is to understand is where the boundaries of your study are. My advice to Mr Orcutt is to get his facts straight, trust the science and ride a bike more.

Words and facts by Mark Shayler at tickety boo

Ventile. Wear it out.

  • Posted by alex
  • 1 March 2013

It’s a good thing we’ve got Ventile. It’s perfect for our climate.

  • Airman Ventile jacket
  • Earhart Ventile jacket

There are lots of words to describe British weather, but ‘predictable’ isn’t one of them.

So it’s a good thing we’ve got Ventile. It’s perfect for our climate. Made with 100% cotton, so tightly woven it doesn’t need any extra chemical finishes to protect you from rain, sleet, wind and snow. During a downpour, the fibres swell and the holes in the weave close up and water just beads off.

Also, when the sun does finally come out, because it’s just cotton, Ventile also breathes really well – unlike other water-resistant fabrics, which can leave you all clammy as soon as the weather cheers up.

Ventile cotton has been around a while too – it was invented in the 1940s, for pilots’ flying suits. It’s really long-lasting stuff, meaning no matter what you throw at it, this jacket should last you 10 or 15 years. Maybe 20. Even if you snag it on something, a needle and thread can easily repair it.

So whatever you or the weather get up to, Ventile can take it. Today, tomorrow and for a long time to come.

Mens Airman Ventile jackets | Womens Earhart Ventile jacket

A Line in the Sand

  • Posted by pete
  • 28 February 2013

"Tomorrow feels like it will be a day where we continue to design and make the best product we can in the most considerate way, for the sports we do."

When we think of all the yesterdays howies has had (6,452 of them, to be exact) there’s a lot to be proud of. We’ve helped build a great brand, made some amazing product, produced all those incredible catalogues and we’ve made people think… all in a low impact way and all from this little corner of Cardigan Bay.

But we can’t just live in the past. So today, as I write this, Spring has come around again and it feels like those seventeen years have passed pretty quickly. We’ve bought our brand back off Timberland and we are at a point where we are in control again. We decide which direction we go and what defines us. Today is the day that the first of the products designed by Hazel and myself are starting to arrive. They look as good as they did in my head and that’s pretty exciting.

That leads us to think about our tomorrows and what we want to do with them. Tomorrow feels like it will be a day where we continue to design and make the best product we can in the most considerate way, for the sports we do.

Tomorrow is a day when we don’t let our little company get too big. A day where we continue to operate in Wales and we give shares to the people who work here. Tomorrow is a day to carry on making people think, to inspire them to get off the sofa and go outside, to run, to ride and to always make tea in a pot.

And, of course, to make the most of all their tomorrows.

Pete Davies
Head of Creative

Tomorrow's Heroes

  • Posted by ruben
  • 28 February 2013

Where are tomorrow's heroes?

They're not at home watching today's heroes on the TV.

They're not dreaming of luck in the queue for lottery tickets.

They're not waiting for anyone to give them a break.

They're out there right now doing what they love.

We don't know their names, we don't know their stories.

Yet.

Ventile Sneak Peek

  • Posted by alex
  • 21 February 2013

The return of Ventile. Our Airman and the Earhart jackets will be here soon.

Ventile is coming. Soon.

And we're very excited - not just because our new Ventile jackets are the first
pieces from our Spring '13 range to arrive but because they look truly amazing.

Pete, Hazel and Lou have sweated over every detail; the colour of the drawcords,
the stitching around the vents, the peak on the hood and made subtle tweaks to
the cuff to make it fit snugger and wear better. All the way down to the weight of
Ventile cotton fabric and the density of the weave we have used to make these
weatherproof jackets Spring-(and probably Summer)-proof.

Here's a preview of the little details that are making a big stir in the office.

Ventile Jacket preview - howies

Ventile Jacket preview - howies

Ventile Jacket preview - howies

Ventile Jacket preview - howies

Ventile Jacket preview - howies

Ventile Jacket preview - howies

Use your loaf

  • Posted by ade
  • 21 February 2013

It’s annoying isn’t it? You pop out for a loaf of bread and it’s suddenly gone up to £1.50. Wasn’t it a £1 or something not so long ago? Oh well, toast and tea beckon. You stump up the cash and head home.

Not so easy in Kenya where poor families are being affected by the same huge price rises and the choice isn’t between granary or farmhouse white, but between breakfast or sending the kids to school.

So what’s going on? We keep hearing about bad weather and the impact it has on poor harvests, which translates into food shortages. What we don’t hear about so much are the dodgy deals that are pushing up food prices.

Since 2010 more than 44 million people have been driven into extreme poverty by the rising cost of food. At the same time, banks and financial investors are, quite literally making a killing by betting on food prices. The World Development Movement (WDM) estimates that Barclays makes up to £340 million each year through unregulated speculation in food markets, as people starve.

That’s the bad news. The good news is it’s easy to do something.

If you want to make change, legislation is going through the EU right now that can effectively control this greed. Go to http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-speculation for more information on food speculation and to lend them your voice.

30 Seconds of Your Adventures

  • Posted by alex
  • 14 February 2013

We asked you to put down the minced pies and head for the hills in search of adventure over the festve break.

Just before the 2012 was over, we looked back at what we had been doing but wanted to know what you were up to too.

So we challenged you to put down the minced pies and head for the hills in search of adventure over the festive break.

Thanks to everyone who shared their adventure. We’ve looked through all of the photos and video you sent in and Mike’s made a 30 second edit combining some of our favourites.

If you spot we've used your clip, drop us a line at info@howies.co.uk to claim your howies Classic T-shirt for your winning submission.

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