"A brand who pretends to be one thing but is really something else, has a lower truth rating than someone like Patagonia who have kept being true to what they are about," says David Hiett, co-founder of Howies.
As usual, the latest Howies catalogue contains not just nice t-shirts, jeans and bike bags but lots of brain fodder.
The company has come a long way from its origins as the young, upstart that launched at Bike 96 by painting 't-shirts' on to the bare top-halves of two buxom models. Howies now even supplies kiddie wear (mainly because the co-founders had kids).
Howies is big on recycling, organic cotton, thought-provoking t-shirt graphics and products that pass the 'rocking chair test' ("when we are old and grey and sitting in our rocking chairs, we can all look back on the company we created with a smile. That's why we go to the trouble of using the best quality materials to make sure our clothing lasts longer. The longer our products can last the less impact they will leave on the environment.")
The company also donates 10 percent of its pre-tax profits to environmental and social projects. This year Howies is supporting research into the impact of GM crops. The t-shirt above has a Windscale-type extra arm and isn't a spoof, it's available in the catalogue.
Howies isn't stocked by too many bike shops, but those that do stock the brand can avail themselves of the artist-created point-of-sale wardrobes seen below.
"The idea for the wardrobes was to give our shops some point-of-sale material that would help people get what we stand for," said Hiatt.
"The wardrobes were reclaimed from the streets and the artists were asked to do something they loved."
The most bike-specific product in this year's line-up is The Bike Bag, a rucksack with a reflective pass-this-way arrow on it. The design was gifted by http://www.obble.com
MORE HOWIES BRAIN FODDER
Fubar is when stuff happens that shouldn’t. When common sense leaves the building, when greed and money are judged to be more important than human life, or looking after this world we all live on.
The only way to stop FUBAR happening is to keep on exposing the corporations who commit it. Four months ago I watched a BBC documentary about a large Motor Corporation. On the programme they showed proof of how they knew that one of their cars was responsible for a number of deaths. Instead of instantly recalling them, they worked out it was cheaper to pay compensation to the bereaved families than to recall the cars.
When did you die?
Remember just taking off for the summer.
Remember waking up on a beach wondering how you got there. Remember feeling the world didn’t understand you. And hoping it would stay that way. Remember sleeping in the car ’cos you had forgotten the torch, the ground sheet and all the tent pegs. Remember carrying all your possessions around with you in a bag. Remember when you didn’t have any money but seemed to travel the world. Remember thinking it was ok to spend all your money on Tip-Tops. Remember spending the whole day riding. Remember getting up the next day and doing exactly the same. Remember quitting your summer job ‘cos the weather forecast was for a long hot summer. Remember spending time doing what you love.
Whatever happened to that guy?