When designer Jade Howe launched his eponymous label ‘Howe’ in 2001, he was quickly recognized throughout the fashion industry for his distinctly West Coast perspective and tailored eye.
A Southern California native, Jade spent many years in the surf and skate industry designing for mega-brands including Quicksilver, Hawaiian Island Creations and Fox Racing. Jade found his designs were a bit more rebellious and quite different from the youth-driven product he had created for so many years...in essence, he wanted his to be a label to represent a group of people who were growing up and looking for something to wear that made sense to their lifestyle. During this time, skateboard legend Tony Hawk noticed Jade’s vision and shared his passion for something new in fashion. Joining forces, they formed a new men’s label ‘Howe’ under their brand building company, Blitz Distribution. The inspiration of this brand was to create a contemporary sportswear collection that would fill a unique need for a sophisticated brand that catered to action sports and music-inspired lifestyle.
In 2007, Seattle Pacific Industries acquired Howe, adding to its successful staple of clothing brands. This influx of financial backing and distribution capabilities allowed Jade, as Creative Director, to take the brand to a new level and expand the mega-menswear brand to where it is today. Howe has evolved into a contemporary American lifestyle brand for a powerful new muse, the Creative Workforce: a hard working, hard playing, creative and career-minded guy, “I’ve always been inspired by those pioneers who came out west and defined the lifestyle of turning hard work into unassuming play. I describe it as dressing the Creative Workforce from the Studio to the Sand”. JH
Positioning/Brand: Howe’s menswear label began as a blend of European fashion trends and fabrications, with a punk dandy aesthetic. Jade refers to this look as “cowboy punk meets English country gentleman”, and that description served Howe’s inspiration for every garment designed. Quickly, Howe became the brand of choice for men and the brand’s distribution grew to some of the top men’s stores throughout North America. Howe championed the skinny jean, deconstructed blazer and sophisticated woven before the mass-market adoption of those pieces. In many ways, Howe introduced and defined a new look for men that was stylish and masculine, an accomplishment for which he was given the Stuff Magazine Style Icon Award in 2005.