Reviving the denim dream in Cardigan, Wales.

Reviving the denim dream in Cardigan, Wales.
Written by Livvi Alderson-Tuck

 

When Hibana first started seeking brands for their collective, brands with a spark, brands with a story, brands that inspire, there was no doubt that Hiut Denim Co. would be high on the list. 

Based in the picturesque Welsh town of Cardigan, Hiut makes jeans. Unique, beautifully crafted jeans which manage to be simultaneously classic and cutting edge. 

You may expect that a brand this on trend would be better based in a disused warehouse somewhere in East London, but Hiut’s location is at the heart of its brand.

For forty years, Cardigan was home to Dewhurst, the UK’s largest denim factory, employing approximately 10% of Cardigan’s residents and manufacturing 35,000 pairs of jeans a week. The mastery and craftsmanship of creating denim was sewn into the fabric of the town, so when the factory closed in 2002, forcing 400 people to lose their jobs, it hit Cardigan hard. 

Fast forward a decade, and Hiut Denim Co. was founded by husband and wife partnership, David and Clare, with their mission to bring jeans manufacturing back to the town, to use the denim knowhow that never left, and to get 400 skilled people their job back. 

While their mission has a touch of rectifying the past, Hiut is far from being an outdated brand. Whereas before, jeans were made on a higher scale in Cardigan, and across multiple production lines, Hiut pride themselves on the fact that their highly skilled makers are experts on all functions from cutting to studding. With the makers’ name written on the label in red marker, every time you button up your jeans, you can sense the individual skill and passion that was poured into the crafting of them. You can’t get more personal than that. 

While the story of Hiut is truly inspirational, they wouldn’t have the success they do if the product wasn’t great. And it is great, really great. Both mens and womens fits include the best denim from around the world. The Grand Masters (the denim experts who learned their trade at Dewhurst and now bring their endless expertise to Hiut) are the best cutters in the business, meaning Hiut jeans are always flawlessly flattering. So much so, they have quite an A-list fan base. Megan Markle reportedly caused an overwhelming order inundation after wearing a pair. 

While the closing of the Dewhurst factory was nearly twenty years ago, the loss of UK-based craftsmanship is sadly not exclusive to denim or to a forgone time. Many towns throughout the UK, which were known for being a hub of specialist craft, are losing out to international outsourcing. Finding true Stoke-on-Trent china is now a challenge with most of it being produced in the Far East and Sunderland’s skilled workers at the Nissan factory look to be the next victims of manufacturing globalisation. 

However, what stands out about Hiut is that they are an exceptional example of how starting small is nothing to turn your nose up at. Hiut are aware that while growth is necessary for success, it can also kill a business. By no means are they rejecting it; growth is the reason they actually moved to the old Dewhurst factory to increase their weekly production rate. But at no point do they want their growth to impact the quality of product they create. As they frequently reassure the consumer on their website, they create the best jeans they can, not the most. And that’s an ethos we can get behind. 

Shop the Hiut Denim Co. collection on Hibana now.