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London Undercover and Tenue de Nîmes

A French denim umbrella

by Karen Day in Design on 30 November 2010

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Since its inception just two years ago, London Undercover has become the ultimate silver lining to any rainy day with its collection of elegantly-crafted umbrellas. With designer Jamie Milestone at the helm, the English outfit's latest venture with Dutch denim shop Tenue de Nîmes perfectly illustrates both brands' dedication to making premium goods.

The denim umbrella is the upshot of Tenue de Nîmes' keen interest in "creating a bizarre illustration" that would reflect their Amsterdam boutique combined with Milestone's relentless pursuit to make an umbrella in denim. Sourcing fabrics from France (the birthplace of denim), Milestone explains that, unsure if it was even possible to proof it properly at first, they got it to work after a few tests by thinning the French denim "so it would open in the right way," and then waterproofing it. For the interior illustration, the team tapped Amsterdam-based illustrator Hiyoko Imai, who Milestone says "really took the illustration to another level and brought it to life with a fun, quirky concept" of a cotton flower comprised of individual tiny raindrops.

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To produce the design, each of the umbrella's eight panels were screen-printed individually, a lengthy (and costly) process. But, Milestone says it was worth it, "The end result is absolutely fantastic. For me, it's the trade-off of old and new that really makes it work."

Adorably capturing the concept of "indigo rain," Imai also made a short video featuring Mr. de Nîmes—dubbed the finest jeans maker in Amsterdam—and his quest to beat the furious rainmaker Rainy Grey.

The Tenue de Nîmes natural beech and denim umbrella sells online from London Undercover for £115.

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