Q&A: Chloe Lonsdale of MiH Jeans - Design Bureau

Chloe Lonsdale of MiH Jeans

MiH Paris

Paris: First produced in 1973, this versatile slim-leg, classic MiH-rise, ankle-length jean is as appropriate for chic flats as it is tucked into your favorite winter boots.

MiH London

London: A quintessentially British take on a classic style. Slightly more narrow than the standard bootcut with the characteristic MiH rise. It is also Chloe’s favorite style.

MiH Marrakesh

Marrakesh: An archive fit with a nostalgic kick flare and jet front pockets. One of MiH’s bestsellers, it flatters all body shapes by slimming the hips and elongating the leg.

Q&A: Chloe Lonsdale of MiH Jeans

Monday, March 7th, 2011

MiH Jeans by British designer Chloe Lonsdale is the modern reincarnation of the popular ’70s denim brand “Made in Heaven.” Born to the “Blue Jean King” Tony Lonsdale and top ’70s denim model Chekkie Lonsdale, Chloe discovered her interest in denim after finding the classic jean styles stored in trunks in the attic. She instantly fell in love and called on her family’s entrepreneurial streak to rebrand the line for the modern woman, becoming the designer and founder for the revived denim company. “As a child I observed my parents having this sort of carefree lifestyle that required casual, low-key dressing, usually in jeans.” The rest is history. Lonsdale chats with Design Bureau about what to look for when selecting the perfect pair of jeans.

What makes good jeans, well, good?

The fit is the most important thing, and it is affected by two things: the patent (or cut), and the quality of denim itself. Denim that is light in weight and very stretchy doesn’t hold up. That doesn’t make for good denim. After a while, it stretches completely out and isn’t wearable. Fortunately, we have very old patents from the ’70s with very classic cuts. And we use very high-quality denim. Denim wasn’t traditionally made with stretch, and that’s the success of MiH denim. The quality of the weave and the quality of the product.

What are some signs of quality construction?

Compact, clean, dense denim that’s got no more than three percent stretch. When you take the denim and pull it, it should only stretch a little bit. You want just the right amount of stretch to sort of mold to your body and hold you in. You can tell when jeans are of the best quality in everything, from the finish of the fabric to the length of the topstitch. I think it’s a combination of all these elements that make a great jean, rather than one in isolation, and that’s why every part of the process is so important.

What goes into making a great pair of jeans?

Blood, sweat and tears! No, really, it’s a combination of a well-cut pattern and beautiful fabric, cut and sewn by top seamstresses so that the stitching is consistent and the finishing is immaculate. And last, but definitely not least, [they must be] washed with sensitivity and care. Some jeans just need a light rinse with nothing but water and a gentle press, while others need more to bring out the color or texture on the fabric.

When choosing a pair of jeans, does expensive always mean better?

No, because you can never overlook places like Gap and J.Crew that make great denim. Gap has been doing it for a long time—they can afford to buy such large quantities of one type of denim, and they can afford to sell it for a lesser price than a small boutique can.

What purchasing tips would you give to a woman doesn’t love shopping for jeans?

Denim is supposed to be the symbol of timeless, classic style—look at what is best for you and what will flatter your figure the most.

Where do you find inspiration when designing a new collection?

Every year I go to a denim fair in Paris to select fabrics. We work a year ahead, as the fashion fairs aren’t held until February. Then we gather inspirational images from old movies, photographers, etc. We gather hundreds of different samples, and we spend a great deal of time testing the denim to create a variety of washes and colors. We also build mood boards, and select the women that are our muses for the season.

Tell us, what’s next for MiH?

We’ve launched a website and worked a lot on making it more interactive—trying to de-mystify denim for women. We’re including a fit guide educating women on the jeans; not just the jeans themselves, but what body types work best for what type of denim, what type of denim works best in terms of styling your denim and how to care for your jeans.

Q+A by Kaira Townsend


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