A look from H&M Studio.


H&M is jumping into the see-now-buy-now fray. The question is, what took the fast-fashion giant so long to align its production schedules with consumer desires?

H&M Studio is the retailer’s first insta-fashion collection and will bow at the company’s annual runway show in Paris on March 1. The line will be available at hm.com following the show, and will arrive in select stores beginning on March 2. The Paris event will feature women’s looks, and men’s will be shown for the first time.

“We’re excited to be able to offer our customers to buy the collection right after the show,” said H&M creative adviser Ann-Sofie Johansson. “We hope that the collection will please them as much as it does us and that they’ll be able to combine the pieces to express their own style.”

H&M Studio bowed in Paris with a runway show during fall 2013 that was aligned to the city’s fashion calendar. Limited-edition capsules designed by a dedicated in-house team, H&M Studio represents the retailer’s elevated, forward, on-trend statements of the season.

The retailer is now celebrating democratic fashion with a spring Studio collection that combines traditional tailoring techniques with a fresh take on the functionality and high-tech elements found in sportswear. Inspiration also came from “the grace, passion and strength of the ballet movement,” according to Johansson, who added that ath-leisure and romantic references will be interpreted in a mostly black and white palette.

“Bringing fashion immediately from catwalk to checkout marks a new era for the fashion industry,” said Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s head of design and creative director. “We’re very much looking forward to testing this exciting new format. We also want to share this moment with our customers, so we’ll be showing the fashion show live on our web site.”

Johansson said there are drawbacks to see-now-buy-now and admitted that by offering H&M Studio for sale immediately after the runway show, consumers will have less time to discover the collection. One month prior to the runway show, on Feb. 1, H&M will offer an overview of 16 looks on its web site to give consumers an idea of what they’ll see on the catwalk.

“The [women’s] collection looks androgynous with romantic white ruffles and shades as well as functional and sporty pieces with drawstrings and wrinkled nylon,” Johansson said. “So instead of flowing dresses, vivid colors and original prints, you can expect to see dancing collars, romantic ruffles and slip-on shoes.”

A long-sleeved white shirt with ruffled sleeves is worn under a sleeveless black romper. There’s a black-and-white-striped pajama top and drawstring pants; a black trenchcoat with a rounded collar; a voluminous long black dress, and a sheer fuchsia top.

H&M Studio for men was inspired by a trip to Havana. “We were intrigued by the idea of outdated beauty and the changes that Havana is going through, which is why the creative team went there,” Johansson said. “The team stayed near a ballet studio and a boxing center, and the sport proved to be the main source of inspiration.”

H&M men’s wear manager Andreas Löwenstam noted the contradiction between chic and sport, and timeless and contemporary. “We have revisited classics such as trenchcoats, blazers and bomber jackets with cuts and less ordinary materials.”

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