The Story of Rohan

When we started making outdoor clothing in 1972, we had no idea Rohan would be the UK’s favourite outdoor and travel clothing specialist 50 years later. Our adventurous customers have made this happen every step of the way, taking us from the Yorkshire Dales to the top of Everest. Explore our timeline to find out how we got where we are - and to see where we’re headed next.

 
1972

Our Origin Story

Rohan was founded by wife-and-husband team Sarah and Paul Howcroft with start-up capital of just £70 - about £1,000 in today’s money. They set up the business in a small house in Skipton, Yorkshire, within easy reach of the West Yorkshire textile mills and their high-quality fabrics - the ideal material for outdoor apparel.

1975

Expanding Horizons

As Rohan’s reputation grew, Sarah and Paul needed to expand beyond homemade clothes. We engineered our first commercially made garment - mountain salopettes. Made in Yorkshire, they were designed to withstand tough mountain conditions anywhere in the world.

1978

Rohan’s Ascent of Everest

The Windlord Gwaihir Jacket is used when Peter Habeler and Reinhold Messner made the first recorded ascent of Everest without supplemental oxygen. The jacket’s combination of lightweight, windproof and breathable materials was pioneering, providing protection from the harshest of elements while also being comfortable to wear.

1980

First Travel & Outdoors Range

We launched our first range of versatile technical clothing using the Rohan Airlight fabric, which was designed for both travel and the outdoors. Tough enough to withstand mountain walks while also being wind-resistant and lightweight, this technical fabric has been enduringly popular with our customers, which is why it’s still used in our Bags trousers today.

1982

Bags Trousers Invented

The original multi-function outdoor legwear, our Rohan ‘Bags’ trousers are made from Airlight fabric and have a bevy of useful features - crease-resistance, zipped security pockets, reinforced seats and knees, D-ring to carry accessories and side expansion panels. It’s no wonder we’ve sold more than half a million since 1982, and they remain our best-selling trousers.

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1983

First Rohan Store

When looking for a location for our first retail shop, we stayed true to our Yorkshire roots by opening the store in Long Preston in the Dales. Paul and Sarah chose the property to make it easy for customers exploring the beautiful Yorkshire region or heading over to the nearby Lake District - and a convenient post box in the village made it easy to despatch mail orders.

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1984

Rohan’s First Insulation Range

As our customers became more adventurous, so did we, which led us to launch our first insulation range. While few were climbing Everest yet, many were branching out to higher peaks and colder climates, so we launched OLFIO - taken from Paul’s number plate at the time, ‘OLF10’.

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1989

Easy-care Travel Suit

More of our customers were travelling for business, which led us to develop the Classico Range of smart urban clothing. This included our first ‘travel suit’, which was packable, lightweight, crease resistant, easy care and fast drying. Today known as our Journey Collection.

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1996

Sun Protection

We started rating our clothes for their protection against UV. A valuable rating especially for Rohan wearers travelling and working in varying climates. We continue to test our clothing today rating items reaching over UPF 40+.

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1997

Performance Travel Linen

We developed Performance Linen, which resists creasing and is more durable than ordinary 100% linen. Made from soft natural linen combined with polyester, it doesn't fade, lose its shape, shrink or stretch as ordinary linen does.

1999

Dynamic Moisture Control

We introduce a Dynamic Moisture Control, a wicking treatment that rapidly spreads the moisture our bodies create across the surface area of a garment, enhancing breathability, keeping customers cool and comfortable in hot and humid conditions.

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2002

Insect Repellent Clothing

We were the first UK brand to introduce insect repellent into our clothing range, protecting customers from annoying mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges.

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2005

Ethical Trading Initiative

We joined the Ethical Trading Initiative www.ethicaltrade.org, which provides a framework for brands to implement ethical trade. It helps ensure workers are free from exploitation and discrimination and enjoy freedom, security and equity.

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2008

Waterproof Barricade Developed

We created the 20:20 Barricade Standard with our waterproof clothing. Our technical Barricade fabric has been tested and measured to achieve outstanding waterproofing and windproofing, while also maintaining high breathability.

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2011

50th Shop Opens

We opened our 50th shop - in Perth, the gateway to the beautiful landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.

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2012

Gift Your Gear

Started in 2012 by our co-founder Sarah Howcroft, the Gift Your Gear scheme collects reusable, pre-loved outdoor clothing – from any brand, not just ours. We then distribute them to charities throughout the UK, helping the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts get the clothes they need to make their adventures possible.

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2015

European Outdoor Conservation Association

Rohan joins the European Outdoor Conservation Association, a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry that raise funds for conservation projects worldwide.

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2019

Which? Recommended Provider

Rohan scores an outstanding 87% in the annual Which? High Street Shops survey earning it Which? Recommended Provider status.

2020

Which? Recommended Provider

We achieve the highest ranking out of 45 shops in the High Street clothing and accessory category. This was a rating given by nearly 7,000 consumers.

2021

Which? Recommended Provider - Top of the Shops

We achieve top ranking out of 29 retailers in the Outdoor Sports and Equipment category, rated for both the stores and website by more than 10,000 consumers.

2022

Our Journey of Innovation Continues...

Thanks to our wonderful customers, the Rohan brand continues to thrive. Just like our clothing, we’ve stood the test of time and are looking forward to a bright future. We’re currently working on new technologies and products to make your outdoor adventures even better.

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