Mums loved our basic clothes, but their fashion-conscious children were missing an important part – the label.
We may just remember the 1970s as a time families moved to the country and tie-dyed their own clothes, but the children of the 70s were also living in a time of complete label awareness – almost label fixation. If you don’t remember those days, ask someone who does if the names Gul&Blå, Puss&Kram, Calvin Klein, Jordache or Silver Dollar Jeans ring a bell.
“Children in those days demanded a label. So we urgently needed to find one*,” recalls Bie Seipel.
It was also important to find one that appealed to both parents and children. And Mickey Mouse seemed to fit the bill.
“He was a likeable character and we made the world’s most likeable clothes. We felt it would be a good fit.”
And it was. After Bie’s hand-written letter to Walt Disney fell into the right hands.
“We got in touch with the Walt Disney representative in Europe, sent him sketches and opened negotiations. Once all the details were ironed out, we began to use Mickey as an emblem and paid 0.25% of the purchase price of each garment in royalties. And we sent a load of samples of every style to their office in Copenhagen. At one time, we seemed to be supplying all the Walt Disney staff there with free clothes for their kids,” laughs Bie.
We didn’t just use Mickey on clothes but in our advertising too. At a time when digital image banks were a long way off in the future, the lack of instant access to suitable Mickey images was a problem.
“We solved this by having our illustrator Torsten Kvarnsmyr practise drawing Mickey till he was blue in the face and then applying for official authorisation from Walt Disney to draw Mickey, which he got – problem solved!”
Mickey morphs into Scrooge McDuck
We actually planned to use Mickey again for our 30th anniversary in 2006, but when we contacted Disney (digitally this time) the price tag had sky-rocketed!
“But we still put together an anniversary collection and reproduced some retro items, including the corduroy jacket,” says Karina Lundell.
*Obviously, not all children cared about labels and some parents made a point of avoiding well-known labels.
“The key-ring was a great compromise: the label you could choose to wear on your jeans or not,” recalls Bie Seipel.