Monday, 27 February 2012


Made in Wales

Like many of my friends, of late I've been buying my jeans from Howies.

I'll be honest: what drew me to the company wasn't the fashion or the ethics; it was the fact that stitched into the back pocket was a map of the Teifi estuary in West Wales, where I started my coastwalk and just a little south of where Emma and I got engaged. I love the feeling of connection to a place through a product.

But the map is deceptive: the jeans aren't made in Wales.

Its founders sold Howies to Timberland many years ago, and manufacture soon followed overseas. The founders left, and while the company is far from being a doyen of disposable culture, I am disappointed at how little time it takes me to wear through the fabric.

At the turn of the year, Howies announced that they had become independent again. It was an exciting move; many thought the founders were back. I knew they weren't; those guys had something else in mind.

Today, the Hiut Denim Company opened its doors. Founded by the original Howies team, what caught my attention this time is the slogan: "this town will make jeans again", the town being Cardigan; Aberteifi. All they're missing is the map on the pocket.

Update, 0800, 28 February
It's been suggested to me (thanks Clare!) that Howies production was overseas before the Timberland sale, and that it may indeed never have been based in the UK. This may be the case; my first pair were made in Turkey, and after buying them I started asking friends where their Howies were made. Everyone answered "Wales", but on checking found them to be imports. Hiut's denim is imported, but the stitching is done in Cardigan.

Posted by pab at 18:13 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!