RS Recommends: Howler Brothers’ New Book Details Decade of Inspiration
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What do you get the guy who has everything? How about a little inspiration? That’s the overarching theme behind a new book from the Austin-based apparel and accessories brand, Howler Brothers.
“A Decade of Howler Brothers” was released this month, to mark the 10-year anniversary of the company. Founded in 2011 by longtime friends (and college bandmates) Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian, Howler Brothers is now one of the most sought-after brands for both in-the-know hypebeasts and laidback-cool guys alike (look no further than the waitlists and social media shoutouts for the Howler Brothers’ sold-out “Gaucho Snapshirts” for proof).
Though they’re known for their outdoor and adventure-inspired gear (think rugged baseball caps, graphic tees, work jackets and lightweight parkas in addition to the “snapshirts”), the new book is less a fashion catalog and more of an exploration into the brand’s design process and craftsmanship, with pages detailing everything from early inspiration boards and “research trips,” to the athletes, musicians and artists that have become fervent fans-turned-family — celeb fans include Jimmy Kimmel and the book’s foreword is written by JT Van Zandt, son of the late Townes Van Zandt.
Of course, the book also offers a treasure trove of images from deep in the Howler Brothers’ archives, offering followers of the brand and creatives alike, a chance to see the development of some of Howler Brothers’ most popular pieces, graphics and logos over the years. There are more than 500+ images spread out over the book’s 300, full-color pages.
Buy A Decade of Howler Brothers Book $75
Heard and Stepanian grew up surfing and fishing in Florida and Virginia, but the two really bonded in college over their shared love of music. While attending the University of Virginia in 1999, the two founded their first band, the Wrinkle Neck Mules, and they played full-time for a few years after graduating, releasing six albums, playing with the likes of Jason Isbell and the late Justin Townes Earle, and even landing a sync on a Geico ad (yes, with the lizard).
To hear the guys tell it, the idea for a clothing brand came about after Heard — also an accomplished painter and illustrator — began designing T-shirts for Wrinkle Neck Mules and other bands on tour. The popularity of the shirts and Heard’s (other) passion for design led to the creation of Howler Brothers.
Though Heard and Stepanian paused the band to work on Howler Brothers full time, the influence of music is still seen throughout their collections, from concert poster-style tees, to festival-ready bandanas and accessories (Stepanian also returned to music a few years ago as the lead singer of Leon III — pronounced “Leon the Third” — a folk-rock group whose latest album, Antlers in Velvet, was released this past March).
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The Howler Brothers team, meantime, now also includes one more “brother” — branding and marketing vet Rick Wittenbraker, who joined the brand as CMO in March 2017 (think of him as the “big ideas” guy, who spearheads Howler’s campaigns and works closely with the brand’s ambassadors, who run the gamut from surfers and skateboarders to anglers and artists).
Though the brand has grown tremendously in recent years, the guys say the vision for Howler remains the same, more than a decade after the brand was first launched. Named after the Howler Monkeys the guys would hear while surfing in Costa Rica, Hower Brothers creates clothes for hanging with friends, sharing adventures and making memories.
The new book captures all of those feelings in a collectible, hardcover coffee table tome, that wouldn’t look out of place at a gallery or in a fancy hotel room. It’s a must-read for design aficionados, and a great creative reference for aspiring entrepreneurs too, whether you’re in the apparel industry or not.
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Of course, it’s also a great gift idea for guys in your life looking to update their bookshelf or looking for a little motivation to go after their dreams. After more than a decade in business, the guys behind Howler Brothers may not have it all completely figured out, but as the new book proves, they’re sure having a hell of a time on the journey.
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