Hannah Jinkins

BIG REVEAL: H&M has launched a capsule collection in collaboration with Royal College of Art graduate Hannah Jinkins in its London flagship on Oxford Circus.

The 10-piece capsule will be stocked at the store’s fourth floor, which carries a selection of women’s wear and lingerie, in a specially designed store-in-store, featuring mannequins wearing pieces from the collection and screens streaming Jinkins’ latest catwalk show.

Jinkins, who was named winner of the retailer’s 2016 Design Awards by a committee that included Nick Knight, Olivier Rousteing and Chiara Ferragni, said she worked closely with the H&M design team to rework the garments of her graduate collection using alternative fabrics that would ensure accessible price points.

“For my original work, I would source everything, either from a Japanese mill or a British mill, so the pricing was very high. We worked on making a number of substitutions to make the clothes more high-street friendly; for example, my sweatshirts were originally lined with silk, whereas the ones for the H&M capsule are lined with a silk-cotton blend and we used alternatives for the knitwear that were first made in a very luxurious mohair that was almost unnecessary.”

Jinkins also worked with H&M’s pattern-cutters to adjust the scales of some of her most exaggerated silhouettes and added a loose white T-shirt, embellished with her signature hardware, in order to include a fully affordable piece in the range.

Prices range from 29.99 pounds, or $38, to 199.99, or $255.

Known for offering a feminine interpretation of workwear staples and classic uniforms, Jinkins’ work focuses on deconstructed denim and oversize silhouettes. Highlights include a waxed cotton boiler suit, layered denim overalls and a denim jacket embellished with silver hardware that bears close resemblance to staples and creates a ruching effect.

As she is making her designs accessible to a wider audience with the H&M launch, Jinkins said she anticipates it will appeal to the city’s cult denim lovers.

“There are a lot of people that really love denim, there’s a cult associated with the denim world that I experience through my work and people in my circle, so there’s been quite a bit of excitement about the denim pieces in the collection,” said the designer.

She has been working with the London-based denim company Black Horse Lane, which is committed to producing its denim pieces sustainably in-house. She said she wants to gain first-hand experience and make sure she is able to work in an ethical manner before starting to produce her own collections.

“Before I can think about starting my own brand, I need to know that I can do that in a sustainable way and with Black Hills Lane, we are trying to show that ethical manufacturing is doable in the U.K. That’s why working with H&M has been amazing for me, as I know that that’s the route they take. When we were deciding between options, in the end, we had to ask that one question about how things are produced,” said Jinkins.

The volatile economic political situation and the newly weak pound, following the European Union referendum in Britain, was another reason to put plans of starting her own label on hold.

“The 50,000 euro prize money [or $54,250] is amazing, but in business terms, you have to make sure that your investment will work. I want to make sure that I create something financially sustainable and offer great price points,” added Jinkins. “The current situation with Brexit has made making decisions that much harder, because the risk is a lot higher and we don’t know what’s going on yet, there’s no solid structure about what’s going to happen.”

H&M plans to host its next Design Awards in November.

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