The famous M.C. Overalls brand was founded in 1908 by two brothers with their best friend. Specialized in clothes for the army and factory workers during the war, it was sold in 1950. It was in 2017 that the brand was taken over by a man who comes from the music world. But what were his inspirations? How, by knowing nothing about the fashion world, did he succeed in relaunching a brand that had been absent for more than 50 years? Make your best Italian coffee, sit under your most comfortable blanket and fasten your seat belts!
A workwear identity steeped in history
The brand was founded by 3 young adults who had left their native Lithuanian villages. They left to try to start their own business. They were not necessarily aware of their abilities, and this departure was the beginning of learning. After a stop in South Africa to weave vests, the 3 men met in the 1920s in London. They learned to cut and sew jeans and heavy twill (a very tear-resistant cotton). Until the sale of the company in 1950, the small company made clothing for the army and for the workers, solid quality work clothes.
Brand’s designer is an inspired man
Until then, the brand had remained in the possession of a member of the buying family, he was talking about it with this man who come from music industry, a man who worked in music, he didn’t know what to do with it. The ma who come from music industry was directly inspired by this brand with a strong identity, he shared his ideas with the owner. They talked about it, and then, as time progressed, the discussion circle grew and evolved. The result of this work, which began in May 2017, the creator, then (and still) president of M.C. Overalls, went to trade fairs to try to sell his first collection wholesale, in vain.
The limits of a new collection
Trade fairs have not only been failures, they have been the main vector of the brand’s identity today. When the designer was working in music, he was exposed to the same problems, each artist must have his own audience. Fashion wholesalers were not ready to invest in the new collection, the audience was too small or even non-existent. Even with all these answers, which may not necessarily be pleasant when launching a collection, the president will characterize them as “fantastic”. They will even inspire him, he will create a pop-up shop (ephemeral, it will only be there for a limited time) with the objective of meeting people, talking about the brand, the collection, to bring people closer to values, but also to familiarize people with the concept.
Work clothing, a sophisticated concept
During the eight weeks of presence, the pop-up store will sell a lot. The man with the dual designer/president label will be very inspired by his conversations and the people’s relationship with his collection to finally come up with a clear idea in his head. He wants to create a concept store, to immerse visitors in a universe, to allow them to touch, see the clothes and talk about the brand. But he doesn’t want to talk about heritage from 1908, he finds that people are either too attached to heritage culture or they believe in false heritage. The designer prefers to put himself in the same state of mind as the creators in 1908, the mentality of a 17-year-old young man who starts in fashion, he knows nothing about it, all he does is to learn.
An innovative collection, revitalising classic pieces, known to all
For the president, we live in a world where “the formality of work and informality mix”. So he manages to release a unisex collection, work clothes are not only for men. Its main objective is to get men out of their comfort zone, hence the use of very flashy colours, rather used in feminine looks. Overalls are universal, you can dress them with any other type of clothing, so they are suitable for everyday life, work, in short, wherever you go, you can wear overalls. The brand image is discreet, the branding is tone-on-tone, the objective is above all to allow people to bring out their personalities with the use of pastel colours. The creator especially wants his clothes to be worn by the work, the person must live the piece, use it, the use of this overalls in particular must say a lot about the wearer’s world view.
Create a passionate community
What the president wants most is to have his fan community, he doesn’t want a buzz like in the music business. Artists in this case end up forgotten because they don’t have a solid fan base. He wants a sustainable audience that is behind the brand, that supports and believes his ideas, he wants to be with people who share the same values. Moreover, he does not have and does not want communication based on influencers, he is not interested. He prefers to provide M.C. Overalls’ own Instagram account, so that supporters of the brand can find what they are interested in on a single account.
End fact: The idea for the overalls came from the creator, but it didn’t appeal to investors, he finds this piece “interesting”, he wants to wear it.