1分快三玩法Suits, sneakers, and stripes dominate the dashing gentleman’s wardrobe this season
Suits, sneakers, and stripes dominate the dashing gentleman’s wardrobe this season
April 24, 2015 / by Sophie Wong
With a collection called ‘Book Covers & Bruce Chatwin’, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey featured illustrations and typographic prints that took their cue from vintage English book covers. He also showed Pharrell Williams-inspired buffalo hats, oversized rucksacks and a range of colourful trenches. Meanwhile over at Carven, Guillaume Henry gave ’80s sportswear a slicker Parisian update with more industrial minimalist designs.
1分快三玩法H&M’s creative advisor on Marc Jacobs, Hong Kong fashion, a decade of designer collaboration and the brand’s success
H&M’s creative advisor on Marc Jacobs, Hong Kong fashion, a decade of designer collaboration and the brand’s success
April 24, 2015 / by Charles Oliver
“One of many keys to our success is efforts to keep improving product lines and stores, from design, to the customer experience when shopping, and via the electronic platform”
H&M broke the haute-couture/high-street mould, which had existed like church and state, with its pioneering 2004 Karl Lagerfeld collaboration. Now the Stockholm-based retailer is celebrating its first decade of such high-profile projects, which have been credited with democratising fashion and consumer taste. The crossovers have changed the lexicon, too, with words like “masstige” – a portmanteau of mass-market and prestige, and “massclusive” – mass-market and exclusive, entering fashion-speak. Most recently, at the end of 2014 the brand successfully collaborated with Alexander Wang on a sports-couture line.
H&M creative advisor and former head of design, Margareta van den Bosch, says at the outset the company never envisaged such success. “The biggest surprise is that the collaborations went on for a decade. Originally, we thought there might be three or four,” she says in Hong Kong, prior the opening of the Swedish retailer’s inaugural Taiwan store in February.
The learning curve for all designers, H&M, its competitors and consumers, has been steep and meaningful. “It was great PR, something the customers loved, and although we didn’t see it at the time, it gave H&M a lot of credit in the eyes of the fashion industry; that we could upgrade the clothing quality for collaborations and yet still sell them at such affordable prices,” says Van den Bosch.
Initially sceptical couturiers were soon converts. “They were very happy with the results, got lots of attention and, in many cases, reached a new audience, even if just for two or three weeks.”
The “less is more” mantra was fundamental to success. “We insisted on limited-edition collaborations. If we’d been too greedy and made too much, you might have had items still on sale at a later date, which wouldn’t have benefited anyone’s branding.
1分快三玩法“Collaboration also made us better. We had to work ever harder on quality control for these projects, and it really helped us.”
But has the Instagramable gratification of today’s world tired of H&M crossovers? “Oddly, it feels like they’ve now become something of a tradition and people are expecting them. We have 250 designers involved one way or another, comprising 20 different nationalities, including Chinese.” In 2004, H&M had less than 100 designers.
All positive news for Hong Kong and China’s design graduates on occasions when Van den Bosch comes to town, be it at Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design, or in Shanghai, as she was last year for H&M’s annual design awards, or at Hong Kong International Fashion Week, where she presided as one of this year’s judges in January. “These days I enjoy seeing graduation shows more than fully fledged fashion shows,” she says.
1分快三玩法Of the former: “If someone catches my eye, I tell my colleagues back in Sweden. I’ve always been interested in design and an education in design. As a designer myself, I know what it takes to create and make clothes. I started as head of design at H&M.”
What did she think of Hong Kong designers’ work at January fashion week? “Very handicraft, lots of embroidery, with felt fabrics, prints. There is a tendency to work with volumes, and draping. It was an interesting experiment in creativity.”
While we wait to discover whether a Hong Kong fashion design student can win H&M’s annual award, the retailing juggernaut rumbles on, experimenting and diversifying.
H&M Beauty will be introduced this year in response to the US62$ billion global cosmetic industry. The company may also debut another of its subsidiaries “& Other Stories”, in Asia. Currently only available in Europe, it is their own womenswear and accessory brand, for which, unusually; they bring in other labels such as Nike.
There’s no resting on laurels for Van den Bosch and H&M. “One of many keys to our success is our efforts to keep improving product lines and stores, from design, to the customer experience when shopping, and via the electronic platform.
1分快三玩法“It can get messy in stores, hard to find items. We need to make it less so.” Some stores lack guidance for needy shoppers, she explains. “The shopping experience can always be improved.”
How does Van den Bosch assess the work of arch competitor Zara? “H&M has a younger clientèle; our price-point is slightly different from Zara. But they’re doing a very good job, too,” she says.
And how about going counter-culture and re-establishing the hierarchy it has made mass – H&M couture? “We already make complicated things. In the Martin Margiela collaboration, for example, we made the belts ourselves. However, our mass global customer is very much about price and once you start down the couture route it gets very expensive.”
And what of more designer collaborations on the horizon? “We have approached Marc Jacobs as he’s free of Louis Vuitton,” she says. [Jacobs headed design at the French luxury heavyweight from 1997 to 2014]. “Now he’s the big boss it becomes easier.”
She’s not about to reveal his answer, but appears to remain cautious. “So far that hasn’t been decided. He has several lines. He may feel that it might be too competitive to collaborate with H&M. But we love what he does.”
For H&M, signing up Jacobs would be a triumph, and would be applauded by expectant fashionistas. Here’s to a second decade of collaboration.