You got to love a brand that calls one of its staple pieces „birth of the cool“, don’t you? The so named colourful variety of brushed woolen sweaters made of finest scottish wool was the first thing that turned my attention towards Belgian label Howlin’. Hailing from Antwerp, Howlin’ delivers timeless, playful knitwear made with care. From scarves to cardigans, waistcoats or jumpers, all are individually manufactured and hand finished by traditionally skilled craftsmen in either Scotland or Ireland. So skill, tradition and individuality are the basic keywords here.
For AW15, Howlin’ teamed up with their fellow countrymen „STUFF.“, a five piece live band formed in 2012. And, to cut it short, they could not have found any better brand ambassadors than these jazzy electro future funksters. If you, like me, have never heard of this band before, go and check out this video or this entire live set to get a slight impression of how they roll. Their sound is just amazing. Special. And it’s a grower.
I’ve listened to their music over and over for days now and every time it pulls my mind in a new direction. Just like good music should. Their sound reminds me a bit of canadian instro-jazzers BADBADNOTGOOD but with a good share of sixties psychedelia and seventies fusion thrown in. Like the soundtrack of an imaginary flick like „Beatniks from outer space“ or something. Seroiusly, their approach on music seems to be kind of similar to Howlin’s approach on knitwear: look at the past, take what’s best from there, throw in some individuality (and maybe some herbs) and use it to create some timeless tracks with a twist.
Having teamed up with outstanding artists like californias Allah-Las and 1950’s R’n’B and Americana-Afficionado Nick Waterhouse for earlier collections, you got to notice that those Howlin’ guys music-wise definitely know their onions as well as with knitwear. If I got to pick a favourite piece of their actual collection it would be the multi-coloured „Wizard“ sweater and the „Mystic Voyage“ scarf, but foremost the „Go Bang“ sweater may possibly be the best benchmark for what Howlin’ actually stands for. Knitwear perfectly balanced between tradition and modernism. Stuff you’d want to wear all year round, regardless of season. And of course there are some new colourways of the „birth of the cool“…
So free your mind and dig it, daddy-o!