Rohan was founded in 1972 in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales by husband and wife team Paul and Sarah Howcroft. Dissatisfied with the generally poor clothing that was available to outdoor enthusiasts they took a radical and visionary approach to breaking the status quo. Their idea was to take advantage of the new and ground-breaking advances in textiles and use them more intelligently. The design of functional clothing should not be limited by tradition – or a slave to the whims of fashion. Instead it should be relentlessly focused on performance. Paul and Sarah had a fearless and uncompromising approach: if materials didn’t measure up – and most didn’t – they would develop their own.
Starting from their kitchen table and developing hand-machined samples they brought a new and rigorous view to textile technology and garment design. Paul’s unrelenting vision and Sarah’s business acumen soon brought success: at first with local climbers and then, as word started to spread, nationally. Their approach was radical, but it made sense. And they quickly earned a reputation – in the trade and amongst outdoor journalists – as the pioneering mavericks of the outdoor clothing industry. Within this first decade of innovation they developed the Rohan Salopette. This warm, hard-wearing, stretchy, multi-pocketed alopettes was perfect for mountaineering – and was, indeed, chosen by the young British climber Al Rouse for his alpine-style ascent of the Himalayan peak Jannu (7710m) in 1978. In the same year, the Rohan Windlord Gwaihir Jackets was worn by Austrian mountaineer Peter Habeler when, along with Reinhold Messner, he completed the first ascent of Everest without the use of supplementary oxygen – a key milestone in the history of world mountaineering.