“The catalyst that made me go into it was a friend in college. He had just started his business, and he ended up being a huge inspiration. I knew at that moment that I had to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to launch a business from the business school that I was in, but the internship option didn’t work out, so he encouraged me to do something else.”
Mr Howell was bitten by the entrepreneur bug in the early 2000s, when he found himself without a job in his newly graduated year. “I happened to see a fashion show and was blown away by the amount of innovation and how it was introducing a whole new idea that nobody else was really doing,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘I bet there is a way to do that for other people.’ I reached out to friends who had internships at fashion companies to find out if they were doing these initiatives in the workplace.”
The first Born to Run brand was born, supported by the 31-year-old’s own funds and proceeds from modelling contracts. “It really started with an ad I ran in a national magazine, which made me ask myself what the next brand was going to be like,” he says. “I soon realised I could create that brand, and that gave me more and more belief that I could make it work.”
Shortly after, he began to design his first full collection, inspired by the multi-coloured patterns prevalent on Milanese streetwear and baroque jewellery.