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Chloe Lonsdale

The founder of MiH tells graeme moran why jeans are in her … ahem, genes, and why she’s revived her father’s business.

As the daughter of Tony Lonsdale, the man behind the legendary Jean Machine stores, how did you come to launch Jean Machine the brand?

Jean Machine was something I always wanted to bring back, but it took me almost five years to get the trademarks. I always intended it to be a men’s brand and to complement MiH, our women’s brand. The concept is great quality and simple, understated jeans for guys.

No frills, just jeans, built on three fits: slim, straight and relaxed.

Why did you relaunch your godfather’s brand, Made in Heaven, as MiH?

Growing up surrounded by denim it seemed like a relatively natural thing to do. In 2005 I saw a gap in the market. The industry was dominated by Western-style denim and I wanted to create something I’d grown up with: this sophisticated and stylish image of my mum in her jeans.

What can we expect from MiH for autumn 12?

Our jeans line will offer several new fits, as well as our core styles that we are known for. The ready-to-wear element of the range has grown massively. Jackets willcome in one-off fabrics, such as hand-crafted leather, and have become a collection in their own right.

And spring 13?

Spring is always a season where we have so much fun because of the lightness and colours we can play with. We’re working with a lot of special new finishes: colour and wash effects through overdyeing, printing and yarn dyeing.

What makes a good pair of jeans?

Great fabric and great fit are the two key ingredients, but ultimately the craftsmanship of the seamstress or machinist and the attention to detail is what makes the pair of jeans.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

I live in jeans and always have done. I have fewer pairs of jeans than people would expect but I tend to use the sample cupboard as my personal wardrobe.

What is your top business tip?

I think people don’t look at the small details enough and that is one of the things that can trip you up. Also, a happy, motivated team is essential.

And your top fashion tip?

It’s important to consider your body shape and what suits you when shopping for clothes, particularly jeans. It’s easy to forget that new trends aren’t always going to work on you, but a great-fitting pair of jeans will transcend any trend.

What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Chasing two naughty little boys around the house. I have two young children who keep my weekends very busy at the playground.

Your father was known as the Blue Jean King. Does that make you the Blue Jean Princess?

I’d like to think that, as one of the few women in the denim business, I will leave some sort of mark. Whether I’m worthy of that sort of title yet I’m not sure!

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