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Silvie Koang BEHIND THE SCENES AT MiH JEANS (AND WIN SOME TOO) Thursday, August 8, 2013 Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large Heaven is.... a bright, airy and huge set of studios near Hammersmith. It is the HQ of... 5


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Heaven is.... a bright, airy and huge set of studios near Hammersmith. It is the HQ of MiH (once upon a time known as Made in Heaven jeans). And they have croissants, strawberries, a bar stocked with teas and juices, rails of every kind of jean item you can think of plus the shirts, jackets, t-shirts and skirts to complement them. I went to this heavenly place last week to get a never seen before glimpse of MiH's secret weapon.

Dennis at work with his improvised inner tube and sofa leg pair of legs
The battle to uncover the next big thing in denim finishes and colour effects is co-ordinated from a small, unsuspicious room tucked away down a corridor at MiH's vast space. As you enter, it looks a little bit like I remember the art classroom at school, just add in a few piles of jeans and denim scraps. It smells of paint, wet brushes and bleach. A washing machine whirrs away, stonewashing a batch of jeans as we speak, with actual stones. This is the workspace of Dennis, MiH's resident denim experimenter. "I don't really know what I am" he explains as he starts dabbing black paint onto a swatch which he later washes and dyes over in yellow. I quickly learn that it is down to Dennis to spend his days playing about in this fun room, discovering new things which MiH can apply to their collections. For over three years, he has resided here bleaching, ripping, rubbing, painting, stonewashing and much more to "find new ways to push what we do and show our factories what is possible". He is the ultimate customiser.

Before this super fun sounding job, Dennis worked with brands back in his native Sweden, including ACNE. He originally studied Menswear at Central Saint Martins, completing both the BA and MA courses and getting to show at LFW. Over the years he has built up a reputation as a denim specialist, recruited by brands like MiH to come up with new ideas. It's a pretty secretive business. There are certain things I saw in that room, recipes and samples, which are off bounds here so competitive is the ever expanding (and popular) world of denim.

Potions and paints
Dennis pumping up his fake legs

One of the most fascinating things about Dennis's work is the magical inventiveness of it all. Whoever knew that sofa legs might come in useful when it comes to the jeans you'll want to buy next year? In fact, they are put to good use as part of the fake legs, fashioned from the inner tubes of car tyres, which Dennis uses to keep the jeans he's working on taut. He also has paint rollers (usually used to get good coverage when decorating walls) which he shaves stripes into to create bold lines. There are bottles of cooking oils which is put to good use getting that blotchy almost mini tie-dye effect which has become big in recent seasons. Sometimes he might dip denim in paint and then boil to get an amazing crackled effect. Even shaving foam is an essential tool in Dennis's denim transforming arsenal, who knew?


On a DIY level, Dennis had some useful tips for us on achieving the perfect rips in your jeans. Something which, if you're anything like me, you might have tried and miserably failed at doing before. His best friend for this job is sandpaper which you can get in different grains, depending on how extreme you want the rips to look. Then layer bits of tubing/ plastic/ wood or even an old wine cork underneath the area where you need rips and rub away gently to create the desired effect. Rub as much you like to create any variation between a bit of wear and tear and a properly big hole. Dennis also recommends wearing your jeans for a few hours to get all those creases around the top of the thighs- known as "whiskering"- in place and then rubbing away at them to enhance the lived-in effect.

The day after my visit, MiH sent over the jeans which you see in these photos. Dennis had finished them off with some artful rips in varying degrees of extremity. They're a size 26 version of the Paris jean, but specially customised and therefore completely unique. Send us a tweet (@fashedatlarge) or comment telling us why you should win them and we'll decide next Friday (16th August). Good luck and thank you MiH.


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