May 30, 2019 | By Louise Squire
Dec 06, 2017
The Millennial workforce is changing company culture and in turn, changing how we dress. As we outlined in our Future Of Work report back in 2016 (subscribers check it out here), this is a generation that is working remotely via their laptops, setting up co-working spaces and talking on Slack rather than booking meeting rooms in the traditional HQ. It makes sense then that this peripatetic workforce needs a wardrobe to match, enter: M.C.Overalls. The workwear fashion label just opened its first store off Carnaby Street in London and offers the most talked about workwear we’ve seen recently, think unisex dusty pink overalls to take you from your Skype video call to the airport.
We caught up with James Scroggs, M.C. Overall’s chairman to talk about the brand as a uniform for contemporary workers. On the day of our interview, James was in the brand new Newburgh Street shop with his colleague Bryan. The duo were preparing for an upcoming in-store event, still decorating and changing all the wall fixtures. This flexible shop floor and their laid back attitude reflect the brand as a whole, chilled, easy and not stuck in their ways. The focus they say, should be the product, and it’s a product that is perfect for our times. Displayed on the racks around the space are high quality, affordable overalls, coming in everything from navy to pink.
If you haven’t heard of M.C.Overalls, the brand’s history is this: it was set up back in 1908 making literal clothes for Britain’s workers. James, whose background is in music, discovered the name and history, and decided to revive the label. But if you are expecting a stuffy ‘heritage’ brand think again. The only sign of the brand’s history is a little ‘est since 1908’ sign above the door that he said they went back and forth about even putting up there. The focus for the brand now is the present and the future, the only remnants of the past being high quality clothes (rather than the recent industry obsession with fast fashion).
For James, re-establishing the brand was a bit like working in the music industry, and he brought his skills with him. “Building M.C.Overalls has been a bit like incubating an artist but this time I’m working within the retail product arena instead. The same things matter though: what’s your USP in the market? Also you’re not going to have a hit on day one, you need to put in 10,000 hours, and you have to deeply love this stuff,” says James. Starting with the name, an old journal from the original founders, and the brand ethos “we worked hard” James went about re-creating the brand with clothes that work hard.
The result is a collection of durable overalls, sweaters, coats and t-shirts are hard-working garments, updated for now with some street stye and tailored touches, such as a rain jacket that lights up against a light flash (great for cold, dark winter nights). The price point ranges from £40 for a tee, to £135 for the dusty pink overalls.
After making the rounds at trade shows earlier this year, with positive feedback from buyers and hosting a series of pop-up’s, M.C.Overalls went straight into opening its first store. “There’s nothing better than the store experience, bricks and mortar, you get to meet your customers, they get to see and experience the brand, it’s win-win.” Upstairs is all this season’s collection, and downstairs is a Millennial Pink feature wall (perfect for in-store Instagrams) and a sneak peek of the new collections in beta form, which James welcomes feedback on.
So far M.C.Overalls has a limited but growing social media presence, and an e-commerce site that might not look glamorous (no bells and whistles) but all the better for it, as it’s set up on Magento which is flexible and customisable backend infrastructure.
The new store will be a hub for events, from wine tasting to creative collaborations and even acting as a mini art gallery. All this will entice footfall from consumers who demand more from brands now, not that M.C.Overalls even needs to do anything extra, the high quality product speaks for itself.
M.C.Overalls is located at 14 Newburgh Street, London.
Photo credits: rachaelcoxartist.com
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