It’s nearly 30 years since Davey Hughes began Swazi. From humble beginnings, at home in his garage, the brand has steadfastly grown into one which is recognised the world over for its innovation, design and the tough way they put outdoor clothing together – with no compromise.
Spending long periods in the mountains as a professional trapper, Davey had figured out from an early stage what clothing would work and what was fluff. It was this practical and unique experience he was able to draw upon when first designing the original pieces of Swazi kit. Gear that functioned and gear that lasted. Which is not to say everything was peachy from the outset…
“I remember feeling like a bit of a hillbilly when we first got started. We were exhibiting at an outdoor show in Melbourne and every day would steal the sheets off our hotel bed to spread over a trestle table and display our gear. Other brands kind of looked down their noses at us, but hell, when the public came through the door we sold every single garment before lunchtime! That’s when I knew we had something we could build on. We got back to New Zealand as quickly as we could and cranked our production. Now 30 years later and we’re still cranking.”
He's hunted Caribou in the Arctic Circle, grizzlies in Alaska and buffalo in Tanzania. Been the bane of New Zealand Customs officials’ lives, has run the gruelling Coast to Coast adventure race 3 times, you could definitely say Davey lives life to the full, but what underpins all of this is his absolute love of the great outdoors. Whether that’s here in New Zealand, or the among far flung fiords of Svalbard... that’s where you’ll likely find Davey Hughes.