This marks the first time H&M has worked with a Chinese design talent in pursuit of generating buzz among the local fashion community, as well as tapping into the young, fashion-minded, affluent and well-traveled Chinese speaking consumer since the collection will not only be available in China both online and in stores but also in countries with dense Chinese populations, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Canada.
Magnus Olsson, country manager of H&M Greater China, said, “The fashion industry is undergoing a transformation, and consumers are constantly changing. We always aspire to create fashion that offers our local customers something new, delivering a good balance between fashion basics, current fashion and the very latest trends. Therefore, we are experimenting with various ways in different markets around the world to bring outstanding design and products to local consumers.
“Angel Chen is a pioneer Chinese designer brand with its colorful approach to fashion coupled with the brand’s core concept of fusion of Eastern and Western aesthetics,” Olsson said, adding that she “is one of the brightest young talents in China and we are very excited for this collaboration. We hope to arouse more public attention to the Chinese young designers’ creativity and influence within the Chinese as well as international fashion industries.”
The capsule is a summary of Chen’s greatest hits, as her designs are often worn by local artists and celebrities. She is also considered a celebrity designer in China. The brand has more than 60 stockists worldwide, including Lane Crawford, Luisa via Roma and Selfridges, and is planning to open its first store.
The Central Saint Martins-trained designer said the H&M collection is based on the spirit of Chinese martial arts, commonly known as Fung Fu. Elements such as a pine tree, bamboo, dragon and crane that have a strong association with Chinese culture decorate the colorful and easy-to-wear parka, hoodie and T-shirts, retailing from 59 renminbi to 1,490 renminbi, or $8.58 to $216.57.
“When I was designing the capsule, my priority was to reflect Chinese culture and my brand identity in a meaningful way, sell through became secondary,” Chen said. “I chose some iconic looks from my archive, and gave it an update in colorway, material and details. For example, we used 100 percent recycled nylon mesh fabric to construct my bodysuit, and that came out of a discussion I had with H&M on how to integrate sustainability into my brand.”
China is the fourth-largest market for H&M with 460 stores in Mainland China, as of June. The local market’s preferences have played a key role in making any business decisions since the retailer entered the Chinese market in 2007.
Olsson said “we have been curating a Chinese New Year collection specially designed for Greater China market for six consecutive years to showcase our commitment to the Greater China and also Asian markets. We have also launched Asia-inspired collections since 2016 and Asia exclusive lingerie since 2018 to cater to the local market.” He also added that H&M will launch & Other Stories on Alibaba’s Tmall in China this coming fall.