Do good shit
Image: MotherGoose Films
Do good shit
Howies is an independent active clothing company based in West Wales, owned and run by its employees. We started in 1995, making high quality, lower impact clothing for running, cycling and the outdoors, as well as easy to wear stuff for everyday.Our award-winning men’s and women’s clothing is ethically produced using organic, recycled or natural fabrics wherever possible. For instance; all our t-shirts, jeans and sweats are made from Oeko-Tex certified organic cotton and our sport base layers are made using the highest quality Merino wool you can find.
Since we started way back in 1995, our goal at howies was to find better, more sustainable ways of running a business.For us, that means a commitment to using more considered fabrics, as well as manufacturing techniques that do less damage to the environment. That responsibility starts at the design stage and carries through to production; from how our products are delivered to your door, how they perform, then eventually what happens to them when they are no longer wearable.
Our products are made all over the world. We only work with factories that meet our strict expectations regarding quality, environmental and social responsibility. We currently use factories and mills in UK, USA, Japan, Switzerland, Portugal, Turkey, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia. We choose raw materials that provide some benefit over traditionally sourced materials ie: is organic (our t-shirts, sweats and some jeans), is sustainable (hemp) is recycled and/or recyclable (fabrics found in some of our jackets).
We choose business partners/factories that share our same ethos. We visit the factories that we are using personally and we conduct assessments to ensure that human rights standards (based on the International Labor Organizations Declaration of Human Rights) are being met. The main criteria we judge on are environmental and social standards, quality, technology, safety practices, skill and price. We look for how they manage their waste, how they treat their staff, their transparency, traceability, professionalism and reliability. We work with factories and vendors to ensure fair working conditions and ensure they have an understanding of what our company expects from them in terms of quality, timing and delivery. We also make sure they carry the relevant organic certifications.
Minimal environmental impact
To minimise our environmental impact, we try to use as little packaging as possible – we only bag stuff when we really need to. Our products are shipped in recyclable plastic bags to protect them during transit. This reduces the number of garments damaged in transit from broken boxes, leaking containers etc. It prevents contamination of the garment if customs decide to fumigate the container to kill wood boring insects in the pallets. It allows us to sell our stuff to wholesalers who require garments to be bagged. It also makes our pick and pack dispatch quicker with the addition of barcode stickers.
We use a recyclable plastic bag as it is the most widely recycled material available in the UK at this time. They have less environmental impact than paper bags because they weigh less, take up less storage space and use less energy. Likewise, research shows that recyclable plastic has less environmental impact than degradable plastic, as degradable plastic bags cannot be recycled or composted properly in the UK, so they end up as landfill. They leave small traces of plastic in the soil that never break down. They are also known to create more greenhouse gasses than conventional plastics and paper.