H&M forgoes fashion week for three-day immersive theater format


H&M is set to introduce its SS19 Studio collection on a three-day trip to the desert in Sedona, Arizona, forgoing its yearly Paris Fashion Week show. The collection, launching on March 11, will be unfolded in front of key influencers and members of the global press through a series of immersive events taking place during the trip, casting guests as active participants. 

“H&M has always been an innovation-led company and we are proud to launch the H&M Studio SS19 collection, with this new format,” said Kattis Barhke, H&M’s head of creative marketing and communication. “We hope that our guests will have a unique experience, partaking in the immersive theatre set-up and narrative we have devised, and that our customers will in turn be able to see the new collection, which combines practical utility pieces with glamorous after-dark options, in a context of wanderlust.”

The Swedish brand worked alongside London-based creativity agency Sunshine, creative and production agency PRODJECT and creative consultant Connie Harrison to develop the experience.

“Many fashion brands are moving towards creating fashion shows that are more experiential, but this is the first time a brand has fully embraced theater and invited guests to come along with them,” adds Keith Baptista, co-founder and managing director at PRODJECT. “We have devised a fictional narrative with multiple layers, so that participants can engage with the story on either a basic or much deeper level. Above all, we want to celebrate the spirituality, beauty and sense of exploration connected with Sedona, Arizona with an event that is truly unique.”

H&M’s move further questions the once-unanimous importance of the official fashion week calendar, which has been losing strength year after year as brands release collections beyond the traditional bi-seasonal model and consumers become more accustomed with see-now-buy-now. Tommy Hilfiger is another great example of a brand that is launching its collections by creating unique moments beyond the noise of fashion week. So far, its TOMMY NOW catwalk experience has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan and Shanghai.

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