Howard Mutti Mewse is a Senior PR Manager for Dockers® Europe at Levi Strauss & Co.—and his story is something movies are made of.
Prior to joining LS&Co. in 2007, Howard worked with the James Bond 007 franchise, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and with The Crown Estate, the Queen of England’s estate agent. In 2000, he and his twin brother, Austin, wrote and produced a documentary I Used To Be In Pictures (2000). Two years later, the brothers curated the show Worth Exposing Hollywood showcasing the work of Hollywood’s first paparazzi photographer Frank Worth, in London and Los Angeles, and in February, the pair published a book called, I Used to Be in Pictures: An Untold Story of Hollywood, an account of their 30-year relationship with Hollywood’s ‘old guard’ from the silent screen era up to the 1950s.
All of this life experience has undoubtedly shaped Howard’s role as PR Manager for Dockers® Europe. We asked Howard to tell us more about how he came to LS&Co., where his passion comes from, and how he helps to propel Dockers®’ public image in new and interesting ways:
UNZIPPED: From a PR and marketing vantage point, how does Dockers® manage to stay ‘top of mind’ amongst key editors?
HOWARD MUTTI MEWSE: Simple—because of the great product and the design team we have in San Francisco. As a brand we are so terribly fortunate to have someone like Mr. Doug Conklyn as SVP for design. He and I are similar in the sense that our passion drives what we do. He is a PR man’s dream and a magazine fashion editor’s delight because he is so vocal and expressive in the interviews he gives. Dockers® has never been about high fashion; we make clothes for the style-conscious guy who knows what he wants and needs to make him look good seven days a week, no questions asked.
Can you describe your role at Dockers®?
Spokesperson, brand advocate, brand ambassador—I am often the first person to describe the collection—especially to press—each season. So I have to be certain to give the best introduction possible for the product, design innovations and of course inspiration. Design inspiration in Europe is so important to magazine editors – especially with a brand such as Dockers® with its rich chino heritage. I’m never switched off; I am always on the go, always thinking about new and exciting opportunities for the brand within the media.
How did you get into your line of work and what drives your passion now?
I began my career as a consultant for Eon Productions, the company behind the James Bond 007 empire before moving to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as a special adviser for their 70th and 75th anniversary programs, and later Turner Classic Movies. It was only later I moved into publishing and fashion PR. I came to Levi Strauss & Co. via The Crown Estate (The Queen’s ‘estate agent’ in London) in 2007, first as a consultant on both brands and now as Sr. PR Manager for Dockers®. I have always had a passion for menswear and heritage brands. Clothes and style have always been important to me. The Duke of Windsor and the actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. are my style icons – I was fortunate enough to know the latter. He was total ‘old-school’ perfection, from his pencil thin mustache to his highly polished brogues.
Without divulging too much, of course, what is the ‘secret’ of the Dockers® brand?
The secret of the Dockers® brand is that it has always been about educating men on how to look good whilst boosting confidence. Dockers® are still the original and the best khaki brand (just ask Jeremy Hackett of ‘Hackett’ and he will tell you…). It is our timeless appeal and khaki ownership which sets us apart from other menswear brands.
Can you describe the Dockers®’ brand ‘story’?
The Dockers® Brand has embodied the spirit of khaki for almost 30 years. American. Classic. Authentic. San Francisco. Khaki. Masculine. From casual to refined, from work to weekend, from solid colors to stripes to camouflage, from skinny fits to relaxed fits, there is literally something for everyone in our product offering.
Can you describe the essence of the ‘Get Ready’ campaign and the message behind it?
‘Get Ready’ is an evolution on the ‘Get Dressed Like You Mean It’ brand marketing message; it presses the consumer to think about his day at hand, not to just ‘get dressed’ but to ‘get ready’ to take on his day—whatever that might encompass—with a sense of style, and to take ownership of the day ahead.
What is something interesting/unique about your job that always surprises people?
That I write letters! For each piece of exceptional press coverage, I will write a letter to thank the journalist or editor.
What do you love best about your job?
The variety. The people. The places one visits. No two days are ever really the same.
What is your motto?
The fear of the fear is worse than the fear itself, so don’t be shy and get it done.