M.C.Overalls | 5 Minutes With

Despite many of us not being able to work, creative fashion brand M.C.Overalls know that whatever you have been doing to keep busy, ‘working from home is hard work and looking good and being comfortable is still important’.

During the national lockdown, the generation/gender neutral workwear brand remain positive by investing their time into future projects, artist collaborations and inspiring their customers with their ethos of finding ‘the beauty in the everyday’, as reflected in the apparel. We talk to managing director, Tim Roter, to discover what has been happening with M.C.Overalls during quarantine. 

Hi Tim, we hope you are safe and well! Can you tell us about your fashion brand and its ethos?

M.C.Overalls produce classic, hardwearing, everyday staples. 

It’s a British workwear brand founded in 1908 by my great grandfather, Morris Cooper, and relaunched in 2017, reviving its original ethos of making “durable uniforms for contemporary workers”. Whilst staying true to this heritage, M.C.Overalls have updated their approach for the present day, creating apparel with an enduring style and quality that are both generationally and gender neutral. M.C.Overalls values industry and endeavour, the simple done well, and beauty in the everyday.

So, M.C.Overalls ‘focus on simplicity’ of daily workwear, but ‘bring humour and fun to the branch’. How do you think this is reflected in your clothing range?

At M.C.Overalls, we like to play – this can be with colour like our fuscia polycotton range, or our royal blue lightweight cotton for SS20. Equally, we develop styles through different kinds of fabrics, also illustrated in our reflective ranges of coach jackets, SB macs and reflective denim. We try to bring some new fun into every collection, through new products and also through our artist collaborations and friends and family projects. 

How do you decide what artists you want to collaborate with?

We have a very close-knit team, and everything we do is based on our brand DNA and ensuring we curate. Our collabs are always linked to who we are as a brand; our London heritage, workwear, our quality and gender and generational neutrality. So, all the artists we work with need to link in some way to these pillars. 

A couple of my favourites are Tim Head, a London based artist, who designed a MCO capsule collection around the 1950/60s Soho scene where our store is based on Brewer Street. This collab sold out pretty quickly and the graphics Tim developed were super strong. What makes it real however was that it came from Tim’s heart, it was his love letter to Soho, a working London community but also central to the brand.

The other collab I love is the work we did with Romance FC, a London based football team. Their manager and the whole team are super creative and so much fun to work with.

How has M.C.Overalls been impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic?

The impact has been significant. The store is temporarily closed, retailers we work with around the world are also closed, and our warehouse is operating a skeleton team. Business as usual no longer exists. However, we always remain positive, as it’s important to support all those who work tirelessly to beat this virus. 

What have you been doing in quarantine to support M.C.Overalls?

Health comes first, ALWAYS, and we are in awe of all the companies that have been able to adapt their production lines to help combat this pandemic. As a growing company, our factories aren’t able to produce hand-sanitiser and we are not able to start producing medical masks, however our warehouse is importing and distributing coronavirus test kits.

With that said, whether you are home schooling, gardening, zooming, DIYing, writing, recording, fabricating, or just staying at home chilling, at M.C.Overalls we know that working from home is hard work, and that looking good and being comfortable is still important. Whilst we’re not going to be able to change lives, we do want to make things a little easier, so we are currently offering an online 25% discount on our most comfy work from home items.

If you weren’t in quarantine, what would be going on with M.C.Overalls right now?

The brand is firing on all cylinders and continues to do so, despite quarantine! We always strive to work hard especially when we are stuck indoors. We have been preparing to launch our latest local enterprise project with Longman’s Florist and the Barbican Grocer, we have shot our latest friends and family series with two up and coming chefs, currently development chefs at Ottolenghi. Our next artist collaboration is designed and also ready to go for later this year – there’s a lot of goodness in the pipeline. It never stops and that’s one of the most exciting aspects about the brand.

Do you have any advice for other small fashion brands during these challenging times?

Get your head down, work hard and believe in your product. I would like to quote our founder Morris Cooper who in the 1930s said: ‘Every time you think you know the answers someone changes all the questions. But this must never alter the resolve to go forward.”

What does the future look like for M.C.Overalls, post-pandemic?

Watch this space – we have some great collabs in store for the rest of 2020 and 2021.

We have just completed a store refit at 21 Brewer Street, so there are plans to launch that as soon as the restrictions are lifted. We continue to develop new styles, colours and fabrics whilst staying true to the brand, our staples and 112 year heritage. 

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Writer: Ali Townsend