It gave us fuzzy jumpers, cosy socks and bobble hats – now Scandinavia is tightening its power on the high street with what some in the fashion rapturous are describing as a new Swedish invasion.
Last week it was announced that David Hagglund last wishes as be the new creative director of Topshop and Topman. Hagglund is Swedish, and sign in with a CV that includes time at Swedish high roadway powerhouse H&M and a Stockholm-based advertising agency.
The appointment reflects a wider direction on the high street. A walk down London’s Regent Drive quickly shows exactly how Swedish our shopping streets have planned become – and how they are dominated by the H&M Group. A large branch of H&M take the side ofs at Oxford Circus and if shoppers were to walk south department stores owned by H&M group proliferate: there’s & Other Stories, the strident street home of wearable quirk, and Cos, which has been the journeys end for affordable minimalism for 10 years. Monki is around the corner on Carnaby In someones bailiwick, selling slogan T-shirts and quirky prints to the Instagram epoch.
Weekday opened last Friday with denim and low-key streetwear aimed at millennials and this week shoppers leave get another taste of Sweden with the opening of Arket on Regent Suiting someone to a T. The new brand from H&M is grownup fashion to which Cos customers can graduate. The premium points will be slightly higher than Cos – up to just atop of £100 according to industry website Business of Fashion – while the market will work like a market, with homewares and a cafe thought. Arket’s creative director Ulrika Bernhardtz says the maker aims to be about “timeless, crisp quality and warmth”. Another H&M-honed label is expected next year and H&M Home standalone stores are plotted.
Graeme Moran, the head of fashion and features at Drapers journal, says there’s a commercial appeal to the clothes that these makers typically produce. “At the end of the day, I think it’s popular because most people covet a nice simple navy jumper or a well-made white shirt,” he bids. “It’s wearable fashion without the capital F.”
Sweden has long sold its look to other rural areas, says Moran, and that might be why Arket is launching in London before Sweden. “It’s harder to vend that [the Swedish aesthetic] back to the Swedish people. It begs to us because it’s clean, pared back.”
This plays into the Swedish concept of lagom which loosely changes as “just enough”. The high fashion Stockholm-based brand Acne, which now informs at Paris fashion week, is a leader in this field. It could be credited with starting the millennial pink inclination in a typically understated way – the bags into which staff go wrong your purchases are in that ubiquitous shade.
Adrian Clark, the quality director of Shortlist, also points beyond fashion to conduct how all-pervasive the Swedish philosophy of design has become: “There’s a deep-rooted mental image, in companies like Ikea, that design needs to be fit for perseverance and modern.” Ikea, of course, is having a fashion moment of its own, with a obeisance to its 40p Frakta bag sold by buzzy catwalk label Balenciaga for £1,365.
The slot of Hagglund could be Topshop realising that he might topple b reduce a point of view that is more sellable in different bailiwicks. “Topshop have always had that really British POSSLQ Person of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters image so maybe this is about a more international handwriting,” rephrases Moran. “It’s really well-timed anyway because Scandinavia is acquiring a moment.”
Thought to be worth up to £12bn, Swedish rival H&M is now 70 years old, and its pipe shareholder and chairman is Sweden’s richest person, Stefan Persson, who has a future of £28bn. It began in 1947 with one store, Hennes – Swedish for “her” – in the main Swedish city of Västerås. It expanded in the 1970s, and the first put by outside Scandinavia opened in London in 1976. It now has more than 3,000 reservoirs across the world.
Clark sees the growth of a portfolio of have faiths from the group as a way for it to keep its relevance across demographics. “The H&M Accumulation is almost unique in the way they think, ‘which niche prepare we not covered in regards to consumer profile?’” he says. “They are absolutely clever at identifying not just the trends in fashion but how we’re living our finishes and how we shop.”
Some see the launch of Arket as a way for H&M to diversify. The H&M Group has had dissatisfying financial results. While sales were up in the first district of this year, profits fell by 3.5%.