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Farmer Friendly Jeans

  • Posted by alex
  • 6 September 2013
This denim is completely new for howies this season. But as you know, to push things forward in life, you’ve always got to keep moving...

This is our new hemp selvedge jean, The Hobo.

Hemp is renowned for being one of the most environmentally friendly and versatile crops around. It also makes a mean pair of jeans.

That's because hemp crops are sustainable and require no irrigation. So a jean like the Hobo, made from 40% hemp and 60% cotton, can save up to 2,400 litres of water when compared to a regular 100% cotton jean. That’s enough to give one person clean drinking water for two years. Gulp. In addition, hemp uses no pesticides or herbicides to grow as it is naturally antibacterial, which is great for you, the farmer and the field.

They’ve got a look we love too. The tiny white flecks of hemp fibre within the denim help give them a unique 'slubby' appearance. And adding to their natural feel, our Hobo jean has been coloured using indigo dye, which will give you a bit of the old ‘blue hands’ at first, but will age beautifully to give you a jean unlike anyone else’s.

This denim is completely new for howies this season. But as you know, to push things forward in life, you’ve always got to keep moving...

Just like a hobo.

Shop Men's Hobo Hemp Selvedge Jeans >



howies Mens Hemp Selvedge Jeans

howies Mens Hemp Selvedge Jeans

howies Hemp Selvedge Denim Jeans

If I can bicycle, I bicycle

  • Posted by alex
  • 4 April 2013
  • howies Leadout Bibshorts

We bike to work and home again, evening rides and weekend jollies.
Getting covered in crap, cuts and grazes and aches and pains.
We love it. That's why we do it everyday.

Funny thing is, we've never really got around to making any serious kit for it...
Until now.

Our new Slipstream cycle jerseys (available in long sleeve and short sleeve) and our Leadout Bibshorts are made using seamless circular knit technology, meaning that they are precision built to fit your body, just like your own skin. They provide a snug fit that will go virtually unnoticed as you wear it.

The specialist machines are capable of knitting yarn into a single continuous tube shape. This means we make body panels in one piece, minimizing the need for seams - seams that could potentially cause irritating friction or chaffing on longer rides.

The circular knitting machines are also capable of varying patterns in the fabric as they knit too. This means that we can have different weaves on the same panel and precisely tailor them to match specific parts of the body. For instance, we have integrated lighter breathable panels in sweatier areas like the underarms and back, and woven more compression in around hems and places where you need a tighter fit. All this without the need for separate panels, seams and stitching.

This makes a truly comfortable, form-fitting garment with a minimalist design. Just like us humans.

howies cycling details

howies cycle range

howies cycle range

One man’s junk

  • Posted by howies
  • 4 October 2011

Recycled Cotton
If you were to go into a clothing factory and have a look around, you’d see the huge amount of wastage that occurs during the manufacture of clothing for all those brands out there.

There’s tonnes of the stuff – cotton off-cuts and scraps all over the factory floor. And you can probably hazard a guess as to what most of them do with it too... that’s right, they bin it and send it all to a landfill site. Good cotton going to waste for no reason.

We wondered what could be done with that old junk material. We figured we should try to make something new with it. So we worked with the factory to fix this.

Now we are able to take all the cotton waste from those other brands and we recycle it. Those scraps are mulched into something that resembles cotton wool, ready for re-spinning into a new recycled cotton yarn, which can be made into new garments.

And interestingly, because it’s a mix of all different grades of cotton, it gives our recycled cotton pieces an irregular and washed out look and a really cosy soft hand feel.

The irony is that most of the companies who are throwing their old cotton away actually have to use harsh chemicals and processes to achieve that look. All we do is sweep up and use what they throw away.

Tell the truth, even if it hurts your business
Back in 2000, I fell in love with Merino. I loved its function, its quality and most of all that nature provided it. And because it came from the land, one day after it had come to the end of its day, it could return to the land too.

I was sold. I still am.

It was my answer to all those petro-chemical base layers out there, which I know from using them, just don’t do what the packaging says they do. (Nice packaging though.)

Around a year ago, we started a project to find out what the footprint of each of our products were.

David Hicks sat in front of a computer collating the data, and also working out what it meant. To find out the truths and not just what we had assumed.

And the truth of it is we didn’t like some of the results.

Moving the production of Merino from New Zealand to Fiji a couple of years ago to save a few pennies had increased our carbon footprint many fold. And we didn’t even know.

What we had not been aware of was that the fibre had gone from New Zealand to China to be made into yarn, then had gone back to New Zealand to be made into fabric. That’s before it even arrived in Fiji. After Fiji had made it into our garments, it was flown back to New Zealand. Then onto LA. Then to London. Then finally to Cardigan.

It was ugly everywhere you looked. It was a bit like finding out your dad swore as a kid.
 That said, Merino is a truly great product. The best there is. And because we use the highest grade that we can find, ours has a great reputation. And regularly wins the awards against all the big boys.

But how we are making it right now is dumb. It doesn’t fit with our aim to produce the lowest impact clothing that we can. That hurts. But the truth isn’t always what you want it to be. So we have to change. Stop making it in Fiji is the first thing we have to do.

Then we have to work out if it is best to make it New Zealand or actually if the Merino is being turned into yarn in China, whether it is best to make it there. The lesson has been learnt.

We have to look at our footprint as much as the unit price.

The worst CO2 figure in our range is Merino. 
A long sleeve NBL generates 2.60 kg of CO2 
from fibre to delivery in Cardigan, and the product travels 45,809 km in total.

The supply chain is:
Fibre from Southern Alps, NZ.
Goes to China to be made into yarn.
Back to NZ to be made into fabric.
On to Fiji to be cut & sewn.
To the UK via Auckland and LA.
Then London to Cardigan.

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