Jean Machine is cool. Really cool. Like Swedish people are cool. Or an LCD sound system is cool. Its jeans are quietly very good, its chinos understated. Its shirts are chambray.
And so it’s no surprise that its headquarters is cool, too. From the angled desk lamps to the scattered old-school apple crates, the design of the place is elegant without being fussily refined, just like the clothes. ‘We’ve had friends and architects come in here and be blown away by how the space works, the energy of it,’ says boss Chloe Lonsdale of the space that doubles as a home for her other brand. MiH. ‘ I love the insane natural light and having a space where the clothes have room to breathe.’
The brands have been here only a month, after outgrowing their old offices, but already the building, an old photography studio, has their stamp on it and is starting to embody the aesthetic of both companies. As well as the grey floors, exposed brick walls and industrial quantities of metal, which suit Jean Machine’s utilitarian feel there is also, as Chloe points out, a ‘femininity to the space – it could be the softness of the light – that works for a luxury women’s brand such as MiH.’
As much as the light, the building gets its charm from its details. Chloe particularly loves a huge pair of 1930s Michelin metal factory tables. ‘They’re about 90cm high: perfect for standing at and looking at jeans. So they both look great and are really functional from a design perspective.’ She’s also a great fan of the rolling racks she has made in New York out of old scaffold, with heavy casters and a great finish on the steel. But the definitive JM/MiH stamp on the building is a collection of family photos, which appear everywhere. Most are of her mother, who modelled for MiH back in the 1970s, and father, who founded Jean Machine. ‘My father practically invented the denim business in the UK on the retail side. He was the first person to bring the American brands into Britain. By the mid-1970s, he had over 100 Jean Machine stores in the UK. There were six on the King’s Road alone at one point.’ The modern Jean Machine’s ambitions are a little more niche, of course. That’s just one more thing that makes it cool.