The 1st Rohan Garment

salopette1Way way back in the early 1970’s a new garment appeared on the UK outdoor clothing market. The garment a high stretch mountaineering salopette,  the company responsible Rohan Designs. The Helanca high stretch salopette was the first of a many ground breaking and innovative outdoor garments that embraced the spirit of early Rohan Designs.

I am the surviving part of the original partnership that founded Rohan in the early 1970’s and sold the company in the early 1990’s. Sadly Paul Howcroft died in 1993 so the following task is down to me. My aim is to capture the unique spirit of early Rohan through your words and pictures.

The tale of early Rohan would be nothing with out the memories of all the people involved in the saga. I can add my own memories including why Rohan came into the world.  However the story needs your memories, pictures, garments and thoughts from you the customer, supplier, co-worker, old friend and acquaintance, accountant, banker, journalist and yes competitor.

I decided to do this not because I need a trip down memory lane. I  think many bits of the process could evoke some unhappy memories. I am doing it because time has revealed the unique spirit of early Rohan is worth capturing. We are living in the world of the bland with so many look alike products and organisations. This is not only pertinent to the outdoor garment industry. Walk down any high street and we find brand after brand that differs very little.

Rohan stands alone – that original spirit  lives on.

Unless we jointly capture the uniqueness of early Rohan it will be lost for ever. Which would be a great shame. Your contributions are the vital and most important part of this undertaking. Without your memories this exercise will not work.

This website is designed to invite contributions from us all.  Large, small, funny and sad. However you would like to share your memories is great with me. The story will be updated by us all as we go along this journey. Hopefully it will make interesting and entertaining reading. Single line thoughts, pages of text that make a story, pictures , old catalogues any thing and everything. Contact me direct if that helps and we can talk further about anything you may have that you wish to share.

I have no preconceived ending for this undertaking. I would like us jointly to see what we end up with.

So start sending people. Don’t worry about getting it all down at once. Little and often is good and will keep us all interested. A ‘do you remember opener ‘ or ‘can anyone tell me why or when’  will be good to start us all off. Who knows you may catch up with people long since gone off your radar. I have written a few posts under different topics to get the ball going. So if these trigger anything in you please use the comments box at the bottom of each post in the first instance. If you would like to write your own story just send it to me in any form.
If you have pictures, garments, old catalogues, old adds or reviews let me know. All material will be returned to you. In fact just write it down folks If you would rather talk to me and get me to record the moment no problem let me know and I will get back to you.paulandsarah-airton

The dates we are interested in are 1972 – 1990
Rohan Designs 1972 – 1990… its like a Mastermind Question.

So lets start the journey and please pass it on to any contacts that you have that may be interested. We need as many contributors as possible.

Sarah Howcroft

Rohan Heritage


  1. mark greenwood says:

    front view

  2. mark greenwood says:

    original lable

  3. mark greenwood says:

    as promised

  4. mark greenwood says:

    I have a pair of the yellow salopette in my garage have just sent a post to the contact us for further details.

    • Sarah Howcroft says:

      Hello Mark
      Thanks for the comment and the message.Yellow Salopettes an unusual one. We didn’t make many. You mentioned you got them from the outdoor shop in Burnley. I have also forgotten the name of the shop.
      If anyone can help us that would be great.
      Thanks for the memories – Sarah H

  5. Sarah Howcroft says:

    Hi Mike. Wow what a lovely surprise. The Salopette started it all and Chichester was in the first cluster of Rohan Shops. They are indeed very enduring. I have seen one that is 40 years old it is now retired on the wall with a star role in the Rohan Originals collection in Rohan Keswick. Would love to see a photo if you have one. Thanks again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *