A cornerstone of Swedish fashion

Combining affordability with guest appearances by superstar designers, H&M remains one of Sweden’s instantly recognisable fashion brands.

Start reading

Photo: H&M

A cornerstone of Swedish fashion

Combining affordability with guest appearances by superstar designers, H&M remains one of Sweden’s instantly recognisable fashion brands.

A global giant

Following a humble start in Sweden in the 1940s, H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) have gone through a series of expansion phases and now have around 4,100 stores around the world. Affordable clothing has remained a central strategy throughout the years, while global expansion has come with effects such as a wider span of styles, campaigns with top-of-the-line designers and pop stars, and a focus on sustainability.

Besides its own name brand, H&M also control a variety of other companies with contrasting profiles. COS are known for their clean lines and architectural shapes. Weekday is the edgier, street-style brand, while & Other Stories represents a more sophisticated style. Since 2009, H&M has have also had a say in home styling thanks to the introduction of H&M Home.

Guest designers

Since 2004, H&M have made star collaborations – with designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace and Stella McCartney, pop singers such as Madonna and Beyoncé acting as models, and even game developers Maxis participating – a recurring theme. These collections are available for a limited time and often sell out quickly. A more lasting collaboration has been its role as a breeding ground for young designers. Several of today’s hottest Swedish designers have worked for H&M at some point, including Roland Hjort of Whyred, Ann Ringstrand of Hope, and Carin Wester.

Last updated: 26 January 2017

Philip Warkander

Philip Warkander

Dr. Philip Warkander is Assistant Professor in Fashion Studies and Affiliated Researcher with the Centre for Retail Research at Lund University. He also works as a writer and consultant for magazines, newspapers and journals on fashion-related subjects.