One for the Howies haters
When it comes down to it Howies are no different to any other clothing company, it’s got to be at a price so they make profit. I understand the need to make a profit it’s a company that has employees but it’s just sad to see the stuff they write on the labels that they probably believe in but exclude what they should believe in. Bit like the new labour of the clothing world, all spin.Posted 9 years ago
juan, howies have used both hemp and bamboo in some of their garments.
bamboo has its own issues though, as its increasing popularity is having a bit of a negative affect on the biodiversity in china (farmers are growing more bamboo in an attempt to ‘cash in’, at the expense of other crops).Posted 9 years agoVan HalenMember
someone at howies wants a sabattical to travel and a bright spark at howies decides to use the opportunity to do some marketing thus killing 2 birds with 1 stone.
is it really that bad?
i’m torn with howies. i take their ethics with a pinch of salt but maybe they actually are sound. there stuff is cut nice but waaay overpriced. maybe i’m just cheap. if i could justify the money i`d probably buy more.
you have to try to be ethical as if you dont try then 3rd world countries will continue to be exploited.
you cant be 100% sure of marketing but at least if i dont buy primark then someone somewhere might be a little better off.Posted 9 years ago
Why don’t they just make the clothes in the UK anyway (topical), and save on the emissions of shipping denim halfway across the world. Then they could just pop in and see how they’re doing.
If you do that, you’ve still got to ship the unprocessed cotton around the world. Unprocessed cotton is bulkier and heavier than processed denim, I’d guess. So, unless you start growing cotton in Wales…
I think they did used to make some of their jeans in the UK, but the factory went bust so they had to move to the Far East, like everyone else. It wouldn’t be economical (or very ‘green’) to buy in all the plant needed to make the jeans over here and have it sat idle most of the time.Posted 9 years ago
Making clothes abroad does not necessarily mean they are made in sweat shop conditions. Indeed, making them in the UK does not mean they are NOT made in sweatshop conditions. Such is the need to visit your factories to check on their conditions.
From what i recall, Howies have typically used factories used by bigger companies with a good reputation for production i.e. M&S. Nevertheless, visiting these factories is a good idea. IF howies had decided to fly someone over there to check up on the factories what would all the haters say then? Not only is using alternative forms of transport, for what i see as a necessary journey, in keeping with howies ethics but yes, also their marketing ethos. They are in business to make money after all, so surely we cant blame them for using this opportunity to market themselves. I find the whole idea very interesting and look forward to not only hearing about the journey but also the conditions that some of the clothes i wear are made in.
Yes howies are expensive when compared to most cheap high street clothes. But anything of comparable quality is just as expensive in my eyes, if not more. Coupled with that, other manufacturers cannot comment on the conditions of the manufacture of their products and do not have the sort of dedication to materials and their source that howies appear to have.
All companies are in business to make profit and advertising is a part of this. I admit that i buy in to the howies ideal. I appreciate (even enjoy) that they write good copy and market themselves well, but i also find them to be the most transparent and honest of companies, while producing high quality products. Surely the world could benefit from more companies following the lead of howies other simliar businesses?
I can think of many many more companies more worthy of a regular slating on the internet. Now where’s Tim March – I like it when he puts the haters in their place.Posted 9 years ago
How can you order from a factory that you have not visited? Primark have stuff made in the UK sweat shops so whats wrong with Howies making clothes here, what about the suppoert for the fellow citizen or are they all suposed to be out playing at ethics wearing the clothes, while standing in the dole queue (is it still called that?). At the price they charge it could be done could’nt it?Posted 9 years ago
How can you order from a factory that you have not visited?
Because they get samples from various factories and look at their past record. I’d bet most companies don’t visit the factories that make their products, indeed they’re often outsourced again to other factories.
Primark have stuff made in the UK sweat shops so whats wrong with Howies making clothes here
Copying Primark might not be the best idea. Weren’t those factories paying below the legal minimum wage and using illegal immigrant labour?
what about the suppoert for the fellow citizen or are they all suposed to be out playing at ethics wearing the clothes, while standing in the dole queue (is it still called that?)
As I said above, the UK clothing factories have all closed down so there is nowhere over here to make then. It was all part of the drive to move to a service economy – guess whose fault that was 🙂
At the price they charge it could be done could’nt it?
They have a jacket which is made in the UK; it’s £450. Same for their Made In Wales gloves and hats. Their other clothing is rather cheaper.Posted 9 years ago
I think the idea is that the product is NOT made in a sweat shop. Using factories used by companies like M&S piggybacks on the ethics of M&S who are known for their ethical production ethos.
Using UK production to a high quality is very expensive. Ask Buffalo, their products are made in Sheffeild i believe. Production in the UK does not guarantee quality either. Using UK seatshops – like primark allegedly do/have, would be exploiting UK workers. Surely nobody wants that? Also raw cotton (merino, bamboo etc) is not made in the UK. Transporting the raw material into the UK, then processing/manufacturing (at a higher cost) is probably second to using a factory in or closer to the site of the production of the raw material, i.e. Turkey (for much of howies cotton) NZ (merino), and then importing. UK manufacturing is fairly non-existant. The root cause of this would probably need a thread of its own, if not a forum of its own! It is certainly not the fault of a small clothing company on the west coast of wales!Posted 9 years ago
Er, has anyone stopped to consider how this country became rich: cotton. Imported and turned into garments using exploitative labour parctices in Britain (England’s North West, specifically – viz Engels and Marx).
That was globalisation. We continue to live ina globalised age (albeit that our economy is post-industrial). Therefore, if we assume that the purpose of business is to make money, then we can assume that operating within the gloabl system will permit that. The difference this company makes is to try to be a little more transparent about how it does that – i.e. it is not as exploitative as some other businesses operating in the same sector.
Nothing is black and white: simply demanding that Howies manufactures in the UK is no guarantee for anything, nor is it the elixir we need to slow down the damage to the planet. Sure, the company’s marketing is a bit too full-on in its winsome-ness, but surely the direction has to be better than pesticide-heavy US cotton, for example.
Let’s face it, most of the attacks on Howies on this thread are not really to do with the thics of the company’s business practices, but with the lifestyle they advertise.
But, it’s funny, isn’t it, this lifestyle advertising. You know, the one which tells you that life will be so improved if you buy this plasma TV, or how beautiful you’ll look if you buy that make up. Or how well you’ll ride if you have that unknown-to-vast-swathes-of-the-population Santa Cruz full susser. Oh, no, because that isn’t a “lifestyle” choice; that’s the best tool for the job and just a little bit niche, isn’t it?
You don’t have to consume. So why get so stressed about advertising?Posted 9 years ago
You don’t have to consume. So why get so stressed about advertising?
Much like Redbull and Coke advertising healthy, go-get em sports that target a younger audience to get them hooked on their product. How many of us actively drink coke now we are older? (I used to alot but grew out of it).
Cynical targeting of consumers/target-market. Nowt wrong with that, its business however you DONT have to like or agree with the advertising message do you?Posted 9 years agobinnersSubscriber
Howies? Coca-Cola? A perfect comparison Hora
As has been said, Howies is a business. Not a socialist workers co-operative. Its there to make a profit. Its called capitalism. You may have heard of it? But while doing so, they seem to conduct themselves in a considerably better manner than 99.9% of companies out there.
They’re also lovely people to do business with.
Whats the problem?Posted 9 years agochakapingSubscriber
Having done the odd journey on one or two trains in that part of the world – I beg to differ
And it certainly wouldn’t be my idea of a holiday, but I know that kind of thing is very popular among the sort of people who list “travelling” as an interest on their CV.Posted 9 years ago
They’re also lovely people to do business with.
Its called someone spending money and the other saying thank you.
The only company that wouldnt fit this model possible has the initials DH? 😉
In the grandscheme of things everything is going to come full-circle anyway. Zara/Next etc have sourced garments/products made in Spain/parts of the EU already.
Its down to local market conditions, within 10yrs China will become financially unviable and parts of the UK/Europe will receive EU subsidies to draw in customers and create jobs. 10yrs we will see a sort of renaissance of the mills again.
Laugh but economics is cyclistic(sic).
Ps. I dont hate Howies, its just a more expensive version of GAP.Posted 9 years agotomzoMember
Agree with binners and ourmaninthenorth.
It’d be pretty hard to be completely green and end up with any sort of return. The fact is they try, and do make a bit more of an effort than other companies. Good customer service, and is the price that extortionate? looking t north face etc, much of a muchness in terms of price.
Looks a cool trip though.Posted 9 years agojackMember
Some excellent reading up there, and good debate.
I accept the fact that it’s just creative marketing in a pseudo-green ethos sorta way to make very wealthy people feel a little bit better about buying a pair of jeans that they probably didn’t ‘need’ in the first place.
Always have a butchers in their sale, and seem to somehow end up with several fairly hefty catalogues kicking about the house, even though I browse and order online, but again it’s recycled paper so my conscience is suitably soothed.Posted 9 years ago
They’re also lovely people to do business with.
too right.Posted 9 years ago
spot on there too binners… it seems that it’s always the same people on here who appear to have serious issues with howies, when really it’s not that hard to just ignore the company if their way of doing things offends you that much.
Ournorthernchappy, I do question the ethics, It was bad for the old uk textile industries to exploit uk workers and pay minimum wages. But is it right for the new uk clothing industries to exploit those in the China Turkey (to name a few). I have seen these places yes they need the work but from a company that markets it’s self as one of the good guys? Man I want to believe.
I have the clothes myself and read the label, “the stuff we believe in” and “the rocking chair test”. I hope that Howies take this stuff further and consider the fact that they look to be applying a double standard.
The recentish book they sent out with the catalogue was very interesting, about how difficult it is growing up. It’s going to get more difficult to grow up in the uk if companies are pushing for employment here. In Howies case the very people in the target market (why do I have there clothes then am far to old). It’s not just about being green and organic, it’s about the whole ethics of a company and how it fits in with the community. Profit is very very important but companies also have responsibilities various others, Howies sets it’s self up (and is compared to most others) a socially aware company but because it’s marketing is based on ethical views it must be open to critisism. You’d never have ago at Tesco cause you know they don’t give a sh1t but I reckon Howies do. Sorry to be so long winded on this but as a uk manufacturer I’m very aware how tough it is out there but reckon some companies could try harder (thats all of us not just Howies).Posted 9 years ago
Howies are creating UK jobs. In fact, they were on Welsh TV recently in a programme about keeping Wlesh speakers in Wales through creating the sort of jobs they want to do and having them in Wales.
However, they’re just not big enough to set up and run a production facility. I’m sure they’d love to make their jeans and T shirts in Wales (they print the T shirts in Wales now), but they can’t.Posted 9 years ago
You’d never have ago at Tesco cause you know they don’t give a sh1t but I reckon Howies do.
That’s a really good point.
If you hold yourself up to be better in some (any) way, then you have to expect some criticism. My point was less about this per se, but I do take your point, mt. Again, it isn’t about being whiter than white, but about striving for higher standards. Of course, there is no absolute, but I agree that if Howise want their consumers to care, then they themselves need to push to provide what their consumers perceive as being better than Tesco or whoever.Posted 9 years ago
There is a difference between exploitative labour and getting the job done for a better price (and potentially better quality). Im sure (certain, positive, without doubt) that there are exploitative practices in China and Turkey such as sweatshop labour, but i would hope howies do not use these factories – hence their trip to China and the subject of this whole thread. You’re right mt, because howies projects itself as an ethical company it is likely their ethics will be held into quesition, as opposed to companies like Tesco who who couldnt care less.
Offshoring of work from any business is going to have a knock on effect for the future generations and their ability to find jobs. But arguably issue is with Britain becoming a service economy as Miketually mentioned. We cant rely on big businesses to keep jobs in the UK, because their main aim is profit – in the short term, for their shareholders. Not job security for our children. More’s the shame.
Miketually is right though about howies creating jobs. And arguably they are a company in a creative industry, traditionally a london based industry, and the programme mentioned was in support of them creating jobs in wales in such an industry.
Most companies would love to manufacture their own products, but for most outsourcing is the most viable option.Posted 9 years ago
Flippin eck! this debate has been really interesting, Howies have made me think just like they say in the label. I hope that it’s possible for our company to live up to some of the stuff I have written let alone Howies. Trouble with having standards and ethics is that you have to live up to them and that can be really hard in this world.Posted 9 years agopb2Subscriber
I think Howies are a decent lot, not perfect, but better than quite a few but I fear they might be slowly losing the plot because its very difficult to see the opening of the Carnaby St shop as anything other than a bit of misplaced ego soothing.
To me that shop has no place if they are genuine in their misson statement – time will tell.
The real eco deal or just some smart arsed marketing ???????????Posted 9 years ago
mt – glad to hear there are businesses, particularly manufacturers, who give a toss, and worry about the things that potentially their customers worry about. We need more of them, so well done you. Like you rightly say, the trouble with having ethics is that you have to live up to them – so often its all to easy to have none.Posted 9 years ago
Petestuart, thanks for the comments but there are more deserving companies than ours. There are days when we feel we are the only people left actually making things.
As I already said it’s been a very interesting debate and we could move it on into corporate responsibility and the lack of the long term view in many companies (perhaps we should). Lets leave Howies in peace (or perhaps a reply).Posted 9 years agobombermanMember
this might be a bit cynical but i can’t help feeling that howies do this sort of thing to justify charging high prices: “yes it’s expensive, but howies are trying hard to make a difference so for the extra money i’ll buy this wooly hat at 3 times the price and everyone will think i’m cool”. but just how much of a difference are they making? what good is sending someone by train to visit the factory going to do? to me its a no brainer:it’s a publicity stunt. an opportunity to showcase a lot of howies clothes. what’s the bet the guy reports back and says “my howies so-and-so jacket was just the job for this situation blah blah blah…”
them pretending to make the world a better place by doing these things just dosen’t wash with me. like the model cutting bread on the beach, it’s nothing but a photo opportunity. the fact that they send a 150 page paper catalogue with every online order while the customer pays for postage just shows how aggressive their marketing really is.Posted 9 years ago
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