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Tiffany Montgomery
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Catching up with Jade Howe

By Tiffany Montgomery
October 25, 2007 5:24 AM

I haven't talked to Jade Howe since his company packed up and left Orange County. Howe now has spacious new offices in Gardena thanks to new owner Seattle Pacific Industries.


Jade's roots are in the surf industry, but h operates in a different arena now with his rock ‘n roll, super fashionable mens clothing. Howe also has a new "fugitive" story line going with his designs where a group of friends are on the run. Given all of the changes, I thought it was a good time to see how things were going. He answered some questions via email.


Q. How has the new fugitive story line for Howe been received?

A.The fugitive collection has been well received. The story line is really more of an "in house" design handle for my team and I. However the subtleties in detail and references to being "on the run" have really resonated with our customer. It set up a perfect transition into Spring 08 where the fugitives become so successful that they paid their debts to society and the mob and are no longer fugitives.

Q.What are the best and worst parts of working in Gardena?

A.There really isn't a "down side" to Gardena. I was born there, I started HIC there, and our new building is a half mile from my childhood home. Old school 1960's Japanese neighborhood, hasn't changed a bit. After bouncing around in "startup" mode for the last five years, it feels great to have such a wonderful creative space to work in. It's the old Nissan design and advertising building. Its dialed.

Q.Any product extensions/new lines for spring?

A. Yes, we have broadened our "knit outerwear" category as well as woven shirts and lightweight jackets. The best addition has to be swimwear. Not board shorts. The kind of shorts you wear poolside, with Aviators, cowboy boots, and a hangover. Retailers have gone nuts over them.

Q.How are things going with the new owners?

A.Things couldn't be better. We are truly blessed to have the kind of backing and support that Seattle Pacific Industries has given us. Designing a premium mens collection is not only challenging, it takes a LOT of capital. My new partners believe in the dream 100%. It feels good to focus on design, sales and marketing, and leave the rest up to them.


Q. What's next for Howe?

A. We just built a fashion theater complete with a runway in our building. Its been great for fashion shows, art installations and parties. Also for Fall/Holiday 08 we are launching three individual collections within one. It is allowing us to design ultra tight mini collections aimed at our diverse customer base. It's called "the moods of rock." It is by far the most comprehensive work of my career.


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