H&M have announced that as soon as 2017 they could be launching a new brand unlike anything in the company’s current portfolio. “It will be completely different from H&M,” CEO Karl-Johan Persson explained in an interview this week, adding, “it won’t be similar to H&M’s sister brands either.”
H&M Group’s brands – Cheap Monday, the denim brand; the minimal, premium label COS which has firmly placed itself as a cult favourite among editors and designers as well as the rest of the fashion world; & Other Stories, the beauty brand that extended into ready-to-wear and accessories; and lesser-known Weekday and Monki – together with the flagship H&M places them in second place on the list of the most powerful global fashion retailers. Is sitting between American giant GAP in third place and Spanish Zara owners Inditex in first bringing out H&M's competitive streak?
What the new brand will bring to the table is up for debate, but it will be interesting and exciting to see what they do with it and how far from their current offering they will wander. Their newest brand, & Other Stories, has quickly gained a devoted following in the 10 countries from which it operates, and has featured womenswear collaborations – just like H&M who will this year launch their latest collaboration with Balmain – with diverse talents such as accessories designer Clare Vivier, Central Saint Martin’s graduate Sadie Williams, and musician Lykke Li.
Sportswear? Homeware? Childrenswear? Menswear? Things that are all in H&M’s repertoire but do not have their own standalone offering, all viable options for speculation. As well as a new brand and the ongoing boundary-pushing of H&M and their high profile collaborations, the group will be focusing on other growth, clearly eyeing that number one spot that Inditex hold in their quest for world fashion domination. Is it coincidence their upcoming Balmain collection has been dubbed #BALMANATION?
“It’s primarily Cos, & Other Stories this year, but we’re also looking to speed up Monki and Weekday.” the company’s Nils Vinge, head of H&M's investor relations, said on a conference call with analysts on Thursday about what H&M are focusing on for growth, Bloomberg Business reports. He then added, in reference to the potential new brand, that H&M group have a department “looking into new things all the time,” acknowledging that there are “some concrete things” in the pipeline.
Look out world, the Swedish are coming.
Mikael Jack – Fashion Features Editor