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The 'forward-thinking' denim brand shaking things up

Andrew Lethbridge followed his love for fashion to leave a career in finance and launch sustainable denim brand Iden. 

(L-R) Andrew Lethbridge with Chloe Lloyd

Lethbridge with model Chloe Lloyd

Since it launched three years ago, sustainable denim brand Iden has gained a celebrity following that includes TV presenter Laura Whitmore, model Chloe Lloyd and singer Louise Redknapp. 

Founded by British entrepreneur Andrew Lethbridge – who also launched knitwear label Micha Lounge in 2015 – Iden was inspired by his belief that “great-fitting jeans in premium denim shouldn’t cost the earth”.

The collection, which includes denim pieces, dresses and skirts, is aimed at the “modern working woman” and uses natural, organic and recycled materials. Iden also works with its factories to minimise water consumption by up to 75% compared with traditional denim manufacturing

Retail prices range from £155 for a pair of jeans to £260 for a denim jacket. The brand is sold online via its own website and is also stocked by John Lewis, Asos and Zalando. Independent stockists include Winchester’s Sass & Edge, Cheshire’s Cocaranti and Bod & Ted in Royal Tunbridge Wells. 

Lethbridge, founder and managing director of the brands, shares his fashion life with Drapers.

What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

I wake up at 5am and go to the gym before the office. I check my emails first, followed by the Iden and Micha Lounge Instagram accounts.

What was your first job?

At an insurance company, which I hated, so I moved to London after a few months to follow my passion. I didn’t have a fashion degree, so I got a temporary job at Laura Ashley working in its franchise department. This was my first step into the industry and it allowed me to move into other fashion roles.

How would you describe the brand in one sentence?

Micha Lounge is chic but comfortable and can be worn at all times; Iden is a forward-thinking denim brand with a feminine touch.

What is your coffee (or tea) order?

A double espresso.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

Mr Porter, Matchesfashion and Selfridges.

Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?

I’m a shopaholic, so probably something from Mr Porter.

Emails or phone calls?

Depends on the recipient…

Most important lesson you have learned during your career?

When times are tough, keep pushing forward; take every opportunity that you are given as you never know where it will lead; be positive and everything will be ok in the end. Also, when people tell you not to do something, do it anyway!

What would be your ideal office/meeting space?

Our showroom in London, as it’s always so bright and sunny and our clients love it. It feels like a summer’s day even in the winter.

What is your favourite part of the creative process?

I am a backseat designer, so I love the collaboration process with my whole team. I also love receiving the samples.

What has been your proudest moment since you launched the brand?

To see our hard work come together and be celebrated at the Iden launch was pretty amazing.

What’s the last book you read?

I’m currently reading The Secret (by Rhonda Byrne) for the fourth time.

Last holiday?

Miami for my 40th birthday last October.

Who inspires you?

Nicola Fontanella, founder of interior designer Argent Design for her energy and advice, and Mike Amiri, founder of LA-based clothing brand Amiri, because he’s turned his one-man brand into a global company in just a few years.

What is the biggest challenge facing fashion today?

There are so many issues, from sustainability to lack of support for new brands, to low margins and how the high street is literally disappearing before our eyes with so many store closures. 

One piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Enjoy yourself and have fun.

Who do you turn to when you need advice?

My partner, Juan, who keeps me balanced, and my great friend and colleague, Sally Martin, who’s been on this crazy journey with me for the last nine years.

What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Enjoying some much-needed downtime with my partner, whether that’s going to cinema, seeing friends or shopping.

What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?

I’m very grateful to have a career that I love, so for both brands to push forward and see where that leads us is all I ask.

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