2009 September 29
(NEW YORK) When most people think of denim, they think of that ultimate basic--not so for Mik Serfontaine, founder of Serfontaine denim. The jeans guru has built his brand by embracing the latest in denim technologies to push their jeans further than Levi Strauss could have ever imagined. “We were the first to do anything with organic--in 2003 we launched an entire collection in organic washes,” said Serfontaine. “We invented the stitching detail known as rope stitch. We were the first to pioneer T400 stretch, the next gen of Lyrca, which has 10-15 times the recovery of standard Lycra. We were the first brand to launch XFIT, a bistretch fabric. There’s a lot of those things that we’ve pioneered.”
For a real Back to the Future denim experience, Serfontaine fans in London have been hitting Serfontaine’s Bodymetrix bodyscanner at Selfridges--an ultrasound body composition machine that scans women, making it easier for them to find their perfect fit. “The whole thing for us is that we always want to empower women through our fit,” said Serfontaine. “That’s the biggest problem in the denim industry, the fit. Everyone claims to have the best-fitting premium denim out there, but how can you claim to have the best fit? Isn’t it relative to your body type? I don’t think that people in premium denim have that due diligence with fit. Having better fitting jeans is our goal--and that’s what’s made up the top-selling brand at Selfridges. We want to demystify fit.” Jealous statesiders, take note: Sefontaine’s bodyscanning wonder will be making its way to a yet-to-be-named US department store early next year.
The brand’s expansion during a tough economic time may have some wondering, but Serfontaine insists that their denim is dedicated to keeping--and even raising--its standards. “We’ve had to really be prudent and diligent in our infrastructure,” he said. “People are now expected to take on two jobs instead of one--but it hasn’t made us compromise our philosophy. We’re not skimping anywhere.” And as for those high-street types who promise the premium without the price? “Absolutely not? Premium fabrics start a $6 a yard. It’s not possible at all. The fact that they call it premium--I guess you can, you can throw that word around--but I don’t see it being anything close to what a premium jean should be.”
So what’s next for Mik and Co.? (His wife, Maria, serves as Mik’s business partner and the company’s creative director.) Using his passion for technology to continue progressing his brand. “Staying on top of [the technology] simply means having a passion for your vision,” he said. “As much as I respect and love the history of denim--I used to sell vintage denim--I also am always thinking where can I take it, how can I put our stamp on it?”
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