H&M is launching a new retail brand called Arket, that aims to be a “modern-day market that will offer essential products for men, women, children, and home.” When up and running, the stores are set to sell both Arket’s own products as well as others from non-H&M brands.
The short and sweet name, Arket, translates from Swedish as sheet of paper and relates to the Nordic tradition of functional, long-lasting design and draws on symbolism: Arket is a blank sheet, with a sense of optimism and a brand where all is possible. According to creative director Ulrika Bernhardtz, Business of Fashion, “The brand DNA is timeless, crisp, quality and warmth, providing a non-trend-focused line for the fast-fashion company. Timeless is style beyond trend. And crisp is the counterpart to that – to be always relevant, modern and fresh. Quality is not only the feel of garments: it is also how they are produced.”
The overall direction and focus of the brand is quality in simple, timeless and functional designs. There will be products across a broad price range, yet a slightly higher price segment than H&M with a strong emphasis on materials, function, and fit. Arket joins H&M’s existing brand portfolio, which includes & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Cos, Monki and Weekday, as well as its H&M flagship brand. It is a part of a wider strategy for the group to expand its customer reach and improve its online services in what many see as a bid reclaim its lost market share in the fashion industry.
Arket’s first retail store will open on London’s Regent Street in early fall this year. Starting in London is a tactical move, as a global city, it allows the brand to reach the world, and soon after stores will continue to open across Europe, including cities such as Copenhagen, Brussels and Munich. Selected stores will also feature café with a menu focused on New Nordic Kitchen cuisine, a nod to the need to include features that make a store visit more of an experience than buying stuff online! But that doesn’t mean Arket won’t distribute online – it will launch in 18 European markets soon after the flagship store opens in London’s Regent Street in the fall. We’re excited to see what H&M have in mind for this new and interesting venture, so we will be keeping our eyes peeled and you informed!
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