By  on March 25, 2008

STOCKHOLM — For as long as anyone can remember, cake has been served on Friday afternoons in the White Room, as the design department at Hennes & Mauritz is known. Designers at the Swedish fast-fashion chain take turns baking the sweets at home, finding it a convivial way to celebrate the end of the workweek.

But as enduring as that tradition has become, change has been constant in the White Room in recent years as H&M aggressively expands across Europe, the U.S. and as far abroad as China. Twenty years ago, for instance, there were only eight designers in the department. The majority of their time was devoted to buying ready-made garments from overseas suppliers. There were no trend boards, no computers and no library packed with books ready to be consulted for inspiration.

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