On the eve of the brand’s 10th anniversary, as it accelerates growth in key markets such as the U.S., M.i.h. Jeans is stepping away from its Seventies-steeped heritage to launch a more modern, youthful identity.
Known for its flared jeans and other fashion denim that retail from $215 to $280, the London-based label is rebranding its spring 2016 marketing and packaging to reflect a clearer focus on its lifestyle business. It is adopting the Futura font that was once a staple on record albums in the Seventies and also punched up the blue it had used in the past for a stronger hue that is more of the moment.
“After 10 years, any brand should be assessing their visual identity,” said Chloe Lonsdale, the chief creative officer who founded M.i.h. in 2006. “We believe in the rebrand as a fresher, I would say, more youthful and cooler vibe.”
The transformation follows the addition of its first chief executive officer and other key hires that are rounding out the creative and production departments at the 42-person company. Beverly Hill joined M.i.h. last October from Issa London in the new post of ceo. To facilitate the growing U.S. market — where M.i.h. will begin shipping to Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue this fall — Steve Slykhuis recently stepped into the new role of U.S. logistics manager after working at Soludos. The company also hired staff to work on art direction, graphics and marketing from companies like Shopbop.com and Paul Smith. Moreover, M.i.h. is seeking a different sensibility with the help of stylist Jack Borkett and photographer Greta Ilieva.
To be sure, Lonsdale isn’t changing what is serving the company well in the design department.
“It won’t affect the design of the product at all,” she said. “It will help encapsulate what the product is in a cooler package. We have grown into a much more aspirational, fashion-relevant brand than we actually were originally. The new branding will reposition ourselves in the market from where we are at the moment.”
Since being introduced two years ago, sportswear, which retails for between $115 and $995, has grown to account for 50 percent of sales. In its fiscal year that ended in April, Hill said revenue increased 35 percent, although she declined to disclose specific figures. In addition to strengthening the U.S. market, she plans to expand next year in Australia, Germany and Switzerland via distribution deals. Edwards Imports will be in charge of the Australian market while Unifa will handle the latter two.
M.i.h.’s three-year plan is to triple revenue. In five years, Hill said they hope to preside over a store in London with franchise stores to follow. Lonsdale is also considering extending the brand into shoes, handbags and home wares.
As for abandoning the Seventies, the era when her parents Tony and Chekkie Lonsdale helped popularize denim with their Jean Machine boutiques, Lonsdale is hardly sentimental.
“I’m so bloody excited about it,” she said. “We’ve really come into our own in the last year of our business. We’ve found our niche and who we are.”