Mos Mosh founder Kim Hyldahl’s commercial eye and focus on fit have made his label an award-winning proposition.
Denim-focused Danish label Mos Mosh took home the Drapers Independents Award for Womenswear Brand of the Year earlier this month. Founder Kim Hyldahl tells us about its rapid acceleration, keeping true to your brand’s handwriting and why it is vital to think commercially.
Why did you start the brand?
We’re still quite a young company – I started the business in 2010. Previously, I was running another womenswear company with my ex-wife, but being together 24 hours a day didn’t work out for us. I was left wondering what to do next. I didn’t have any money and my pockets were totally empty. I thought about going to the bank for a loan to start back up again, but at that time it was really tough to get loans to start a new clothing brand. Luckily, some friends and family said they would help support the business for a while. I started at home in my kitchen with seven pairs of jeans and one salesperson from my previous company. At one point, my mum was helping to put labels in the jeans because the suppliers had forgotten. We really started from scratch, but once we went out on the road, we sold out. Suddenly, we had opened a series of independent accounts across Denmark.
What gives Mos Mosh a point of difference in the competitive denim market?
There was a gap in the market for good-quality jeans with fashion-forward details. When we first launched, the Italian brands were very strong on denim trends, but often the fit wasn’t great. The alternative was to go to premium labels, but at a considerably higher price point. I thought I could mix the two things.
For the first two or three years, the key focus was jeans but now we have a complete collection – everything from jeans to jackets. Fit is still key – the first thing a woman does when she tries on a pair of jeans is look in the mirror to see how they fit. But we are also known for easy, effortless style. A cool pair of jeans paired with a blazer is a typical Mos Mosh look. [For spring 19, wholesale prices range from £19 for a basic T-shirt, to £120 for a leather jacket. Agency The Brand Ambassadors manages UK sales.]
Why do you think the brand has found popularity?
We have a very tight concept, and I think that is the biggest reason. We have been very focused on what we are doing. For six years, I said we would never make a jumpsuit and we didn’t have one in our collection, even though many other brands were doing it. That’s because our focus was jeans, trousers and tailoring. Today, I have to admit that we do make jumpsuits, but the DNA of the brand is still very strong. If you’re a wholesaler, which we mostly are, you still need to think like a retailer. I’m not afraid to say that we have a commercial mindset, because if you don’t have that, forget it.
How has Mos Mosh grown?
We opened more and more independent accounts across Denmark and then, after a couple of years, expanded first into Norway, then Sweden and Holland. Today we’re all over Europe and have around 2,000 independent accounts overall. [It has more than 80 in the UK, including Gerrards in Reigate, Surrey, and Sass & Edge in Winchester.] Our latest openings include Australia, New Zealand and Canada. We’re now a team of 30 doing a yearly turnover of around €50m (£44m). It’s a big number for a small team, but we work hard.
Why does Mos Mosh not have a transactional website?
We don’t have a [shoppable] website yet because we have been running so fast with our existing channels. We’re also working closely with some great online retailers, such as Zalando and Boozt. Currently, we would rather help our end consumer get closer to the retailers we work with.
What is next for the brand?
Currently, we only have one Mos Mosh bricks-and-mortar store, in Wels, Austria, but we have started to develop a few shop-in-shop concepts. We’ve opened around 12 over the past eight months in Germany. If we’re talking markets, the US is a very interesting area of expansion for us because of its size.