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A cornerstone of Swedish fashion

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

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Naomi Campbell at the H&M Moschino fashion show. Photo: Carl Timpone/BFA.com/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 is known for its clean lines and architectural shapes. Weekday is the edgier, street-style brand, while & Other Stories represents a more sophisticated style and Arket is the most sustainability-focused member of the H&M family. 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, Stella McCartney and Moschino, 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: 18 January 2019

Philip Warkander & Sweden.se

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.

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