The Denim Master

Mille Monferin’s cosmopolitan cross-pollination of jeans culture.

Sweden has produced some of the most sought after brands of the last few years, from inexpensive lines to cutting-edge, avant-garde and innovative collections, falling just shy of fashion’s radars as the country on which to always keep a watchful eye. Denim is no exception, and the Scandinavians are now famous for their clean cuts and excellent materials. “The way we wear jeans is very pure and sharp at the same time,” explains Mille Monferin, a Swede who certainly knows a thing or two about denim, having grown up around his father’s jeans stores. After two decades of denim experimentation in Sweden, Belgium and Italy, he finally launched his own brand Double M last year. “Indie thinking, true talking and unparalleled passion” are phrases Monferin uses to characterize the label, whose style is certainly relaxed with a toughness about it. “I use my exclusively developed denim I made up in the South of Japan, hand-dyed with purple-green selvage,” he points out, “while the pants line is made of a selvage chino fabric from my archive of 1300 pairs of jeans, stuff from the [Japanese] Edo era and African indigo to American icons.”

Monferin’s jeans culture is enviable: in 20 years he has put “111,000,000 pairs of jeans on people’s bums,” working for the most well-established denim brands. His 360° view of the denim industry is the result of this experience. After having worked as creative director of Levi’s Red Tab and Levi’s Vintage in Brussels, he was responsible for revamping the then-declining Lee 101 and, lastly, he worked as the European president for the Japanese brand Edwin. He continues to work as a consultant for big and small labels the world over from his headquarters in Zurich—part of a special trifecta, which stands as the base for Double M. London, Zurich and Tokyo are the cities that inspire Monferin, who tries to blend the best ingredients of jeans culture from three of the trendiest cities in the world. “This cross-pollination, with feet firmly on the ground in these three cities, reflects what Double M as a company is all about,” he explains. “That’s where my team is based and where I spend most of my hotel nights.”

Double M jeans echo this triple inspiration, taking cues from the indie boys of London, the sharp cuts of the Swiss and the artfully mastered denim of Japan. A line of leather jackets was added to the mix, adding a grunge feeling to the line. “People are tired of nonsense products and demand more from design and philosophy,” Monferin points out, and in a time when it’s always more difficult for a small brand to emerge, an approach like his is essential. Maybe that’s the reason their first season in stores, Double M jeans are flying off the shelves: “We are enjoying an incredible request of our products. All are sold out already in most shops.” Consumers are clearly after a more authentic product. And authentic it is, with special attention to details and cuts, a vintage look mixed with innovation for a truly contemporary feeling. When asked what’s next, Monferin speaks with the humility and candor that makes his brand great: “Only God knows what the future will bring. I am here to do my best with my full passions.”

— Rosa Maria Bertoli