so howies are 20 today. i knew about them more or less from the start, had seen their early stuff in slam city skates i think, but the relationship started in 2003 when i saw one of their inspirational catalogues in a coffee shop and blogged them (08.06.03 entry). and then a few months later nic walters asked me to go and photograph the howies t-shirt he'd designed, in the wardrobes in selfridges. after i had taken a few shots i was stopped by selfridges staff - which seemed outrageous then and is unthinkable now when everyone photographs everything. I bought nic's t-shirt, and thereafter an unending stream of things. howies became a grace thing, and even an alt-worship thing, enough so that dave walker's caricature of an emerging church bloggers' meeting in 2006 showed one wearing a howies top (in fact they all look like a caricature of me!). on andrew jones' blog entry a couple of weeks later he refers to the cartoon, and there's a photo of me - wearing a howies t-shirt...
most days i am wearing something by howies. usually it's a merino base layer, or selvedge jeans. or a merino mid-layer, or a wooly hat. or a shirt with reflective bits woven in. i used to wear their t-shirts a lot, but i'm over t-shirts. still have a few howies ones though. i have an epic cotton lightweight jacket which i have worn literally to holes and discolouration - it's maybe 8 years old. i finally found something to replace it, by fellow ethical brand finisterre. there's a howies sticker on this laptop. so happy birthday howies.
i wore the timberland shoes mentioned in cycle of fashion for about a week, and suddenly the sole fell off one of them. i took a step and the rubber tread of the shoe was left behind on the carpet. this was in a client's office at canary wharf, so i hastily stuffed the detached part in my bag hoping no-one had noticed and limped back to my own office. fortunately i had a pair of trainers under my desk.
on inspection the other shoe was beginning to split too. probably the glue between leather sole [the sewn part] and rubber tread had dried out during the years in storage, and flexing the shoe in wear had caused it to delaminate.
today i took the shoes into the timberland store in regent street. i was after advice for a repair, but they offered me free replacement - which is pretty good 15 years after purchase. i was sad to give up the old pair after so many years in the wardrobe, but a shoe is for wearing.
walking down carnaby street today i saw the howies staff getting the shop ready. here's dave hieatt and ade: wanted to say hi but couldn't think of anything intelligent to say. i feel like i know these people well, but i don't. such is the power of blogs and marketing. maybe if they'd not been busy setting up i would've said hi anyway.
btw i emailed david with some concerns about the timberland deal - oh the cheek, but with what other clothing company would i feel able to do that ["yo phil, i'm not sure about nike's new direction..."]? had to get it off my chest. he assures me that they are staying in control and in cardigan bay, and that timberland want them to stay the same only better at what they do. and that it's his job to make sure that doesn't change. i just hope he has the leverage, and never has to use it.