PARIS — Bucking the prevailing economic gloom, Hennes & Mauritz AB is going full steam ahead with its brand diversification, with the opening in the spring of the first physical and online stores for its new brand, & Other Stories.
The Swedish high-street retailer plans to open brick-and-mortar stores in seven cities — Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Paris and Stockholm — to mark its first collections under the new banner.
Averaging 7,500 square feet in size, the stores will sit in high-profile locations such as Regent Street in London, Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris and Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan to give the brand maximum visibility.
In addition, an e-commerce site, stories.com, will launch in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
The brand will sell women’s ready-to-wear, shoes, bags, accessories and beauty products including skin care, body care and a color cosmetics line developed in collaboration with makeup artist Lisa Butler.
Prices will begin where H&M stops, although the retailer has said & Other Stories will feature a wider spread than its high-end concept COS.
Prices will start at 7 euros, or $9 at current exchange, for certain cosmetics, jewelry and footwear items, and 15 euros, or $20, for ready-to-wear. The most expensive products will cost about 195 euros, or $255, for shoes or handbags and 245 euros, or $320, for a leather jacket, for example.
H&M said the lines are “diverse, ranging from masculine tailoring to feminine chic and are designed to provide endless styling choices. The aim is to design lasting wardrobe treasures within a wide price range.”
The creative department for & Other Stories is based largely in Paris, and is led by head of design Anna Teurnell, although a second, smaller team is based in Stockholm.
Elke Kieft, p.r. manager for & Other Stories, said there would be four different product universes within the brand, corresponding to different styles. The brand’s handwritten logo will be used on store signs and clothing tags, sometimes in combination with other words, separated by a thin black line — for example, “Rue Saint-Honoré & Other Stories.”
“You will be seeing it a lot. It could be a price tag on the garment. It will look exactly the same with the line through the middle, and it could be ‘Leather & Other Stories’ or ‘Cashmere & Other Stories.’ We can continuously play with that name, and that is the idea behind it, because we want to let people know what we are about,” Kieft said.
The brand is plotting a strong presence on social media, with channels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr in addition to its own site.
“Obviously, on the Web site, you have more possibilities to really tell a story with images, but there will be lots of images in the stores as well to give inspiration. We don’t want to dictate anything. We’re really looking for a customer that has their own style already and who can pick something that fits her style,” Kieft said.
She declined to say which store would be the first to open and when, merely indicating that online sales would follow after the launch of physical stores.
H&M began adding subbrands in 2007 with the launch of COS, which stands for Collection of Style. In 2010, it bought Fabric Scandinavien AB, the company behind hip denim label Cheap Monday and contemporary fashion chains Weekday and Monki.
Neil Saunders, managing director of U.K.-based retail consultancy Conlumino, said that while H&M continues to lag behind its rival Inditex in terms of subbrands, the launch of & Other Stories will help it reach a wider potential audience.
“Strategically, they have taken a step up and they’re becoming much more like Inditex in terms of having a stable of brands which they can roll out across different locations for growth,” he said.
“That’s important for them, because relying on the core H&M brand for growth was never an option, because it’s becoming much more saturated and also there’s a danger it becomes a little bit ubiquitous as well, and it can’t serve all constituents of the fashion market,” he added.
Saunders noted that & Other Stories was launching in locations with significant footfall, strong fashion credentials and high visibility.
“Although the economies overall are sluggish, the locations they’re opening in are high-growth locations, so actually, they should be relatively insulated from the general downturn,” he said.
“By choosing these locations, they are giving themselves a lot of exposure. That said, of course, they’re much more expensive locations, so they’re going to have to make sure that the volume side of the business really stacks up. It’s very important therefore that the product is desirable and seen as being ‘must-have,’ so it can justify the price point and also sell through in enough volume to make the business work,” he concluded.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty