When Swedish high street favourite H&M announced the launch of a new “luxe” label, my first thoughts were, why? After H&M getting criticism for perhaps not as stellar as expected designer collaborations (I genuinely saw a H&M Margiela jacket down from £150 to £5 in the Regent Street store), is now the right time to launch a new brand, rather than focusing on improving the existing one?
Secondly, is there really a gap in the market for another high-end high street brand? COS, Reiss, Joseph, Jaeger etc, these all seem to cover all aspects of the high end high street market, from luxe basics at COS and Jaeger to Royal-fave classicism at Reiss. Particularly, COS, which is only 6 years old, is probably closest to the H&M ‘basics with a twist’ sensibility, and also stock menswear, something that & Other Stories doesn’t at present.
Represented by PR power-house Karla Otto (also home to Chalayan, Viktor and Rolf and Marni, to name but a few) & Other Stories will no doubt be a regular editorial pull and ‘How To Wear…’ magazine feature favourite.
The press release is pretty standard, “Other Stories is a fashion brand offering women a wide range of shoes, bags, accessories, beauty and ready-to-wear to create their personal style, or story. Our creative ateliers in Paris and Stockholm design diversified fashion collections with great attention to detail and quality at an affordable price. It does annoy me when brands say ‘affordable’, because obviously what is affordable to you, mister, might not be affordable to me, with your £40 for a plain jumper sensibilities. I find it slightly patronising. But having said that, Prices are actually a really good scale, basics are mostly around the £30/40 quid mark, which isn’t too bad, with the more exciting items around £100, which is quite a good mid-point, and still, that’s about the same price as Topshop, without any of the wacky sally “STUDS AND GALAXY PRINT ON EVERYTHING!1!!”
It continues, “We believe shoes, bags, jewellery, lingerie and beauty are key for styling and just as important as clothing.” Shoes etc are one thing that ususally fall to the wayside for brands, Zara for instance generally does really good on-point womenswear, yet the shoes are a.) few and far between, and b.) usually really hideous.
I had a look at the website, and I was actually quite impressed. The range is very extensive without being overwhelming (have you ever got stuck in an ASOS black hole? Pop on to look for a skirt, 80 minutes and 8,000 pages later, you go on eBay to look for a noose) with a good mix of product and model shots (can you tell I work in eCommerce?). There’s also a very pleasing Tumblr.
Here are my favourite things currently on offer from the website:
Here’s Kasia Strauss in Look #8 from Lanvin’s SS13 collection, described by Alber Elbaz as being focused around “deconstructed classicism.”
This look serves up a solution to that difficult “I work in an office at a swimming pool. I need something both sporty and tailored, with the added option for Baywatch moments. What do I wear to work?” situation we’re all bound to find ourselves in at some point in our lives.
Here’s how to do deconstructed swimming pool office classicism pon de cheap: