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Sporting the right gear

Sporting the right gear

Want to sport some ethical outdoors gear this summer? We think that Welsh active clothing brand, Howies, deserves a little recognition.

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First, they’ve just celebrated their 20th birthday this summer, having been founded in London by Clare and David Hieatt in 1995 (although in 2001 they relocated to Cardigan, Wales). Second, they’re all about quality. And when we say quality, we don’t just mean the all-important feel and appearance, but also a certain quality of thought that relates to ethical standing and eco-principles.

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Howies is renowned within the sports of cycling and running as well as other outdoor activities, and offers men’s and women’s merino-based lightweight running gear in its collection. But if you’re not a sporty type, don’t worry: another highlight is their tea tree denim, almost 30% of which is derived from recycled bottles. Other materials include organic cotton and merino wool made with Sorona®, a fabric that uses plant glucose from renewable crops instead of man-made plastics.

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Despite their connection with the world of cycling, Howies hasn’t had an easy ride. In 2003, Levi Strauss threatened to sue the small Welsh company, in what The Guardian referred to as a “David and Goliath battle”, because of alleged similarities between the logo-bearing tab on the back of the jeans (although Howies’ tag is grey and Levis’ is red). They were then bought by the Timberland Group in 2006, and in 2011 closed their Carnaby Street store, before purchasing back the company in 2012 and relaunching independently from a rather quieter location, Cardigan. They recently also opened a shop in Exeter.

To browse their online store, visit