How to do a pop-up, M.i.h jeans style

12 May 2016

Photo: New York Times

“The denim girls’ denim brand” as founder Chloe Lonsdale’s creation, M.i.h is referred to, has to date been sold in more than 350 stockists across 43 countries. Their retail partners include Net-A-Porter, Selfridges, Matches Fashion, Harvey Nichols, Liberty and Le Bon Marché – to name a few.

For the last ten years M.i.h has quietly been making a name for their jeans as a high-quality, stylish wardrobe staple. And as for M.i.h fans? We're talking about the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Rachel Weisz and Julianne Moore. You get the picture.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, M.i.h launched the ‘Cult Denim Project’, a collection featuring some of their most popular pieces to date. After a decade of online-only commerce, they’ve launched the project in a series of pop-ups across the globe - including their very first bricks and mortar store in the heart of London’s Soho – through Appear Here.

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We spoke to Chloe to find out how she shaped their vision for the pop-up and what effect it’s had on her long-term hopes for the business.

What made you choose your Soho location?

I love the energy of Soho. It has a real buzz about it. With brands like Aesop and APC around the corner, our location felt like a great place to be. It’s also surrounded by a lot of creative agencies and publishing houses, so it was a really natural choice for us.

How did you choose the right brands to partner with?

I wanted to bring together a dynamic selection of collaborators to contribute key elements, like scent and furniture, to create a fully immersive retail experience representative of the M.i.h spirit. They were collaborators that I felt embodied the same values as M.i.h and would be able to bring something fun and different to the store.

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And can you tell us a little bit about these collaborations and the design of the shop?

For scent, M.i.h collaborated with LA candle brand Le Feu de L’eau to create a bespoke indigo candle. The store’s retail fit has been designed by award-winning designers Matteo Fogale and Laetitia de Allegri. A floral installation on the store fascia was designed by Silka Rittson-Thomas of the TukTuk Flower Studio. We commissioned 70’s print by illustrator Nicholas Burrows which we will sell alongside a curated capsule collection of retro, round-framed sunglasses with blue lenses from New York brand Illesteva.

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In what ways has bringing the store to life changed how you look at your business?

It’s made me even more ambitious for the next 20 years. We want to opening our own permanent store and work even more closely with like-minded collaborators. The brands I respect have stayed true to their vision and built organically, branching out into different products in a way that feels very natural, and using their experience and deep roots to make things of real value and beauty. I love the idea of accessories but also homewares - things that reflect real life in the same way that denim does.

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What has it been like meeting your customers face to face after all this time?

It’s been great. Especially meeting some of our most loyal customers at a recent customer event we held. The head office M.i.h team have also been working in the store, not only because it’s an invaluable experience for them, to get to know our customers even better, but because our customers get expert denim advice from the team behind the brand too.

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What advice would you give to other online retailers hoping to do a pop up?

Go for it! It’s a great way to test the water before opening a permanent retail space.

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Discover the space where Chloe made her idea happen here.