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Editor's pick social media

H&M X Coachella again, plans even bigger style and social media blitz

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H&M had a major hit with its Coachella collaboration in 2015, and so the fashion retail giant is teaming up with the king of festivals again this year for a collaboration that takes in clothes, accessories and a social media blitz.

Its co-branded Coachella collection launches next month in US stores (March 24, with a sneak peek on March 23) under the hashtag #HMLovesCoachella.

As last year, H&M will have a pop-up shop on-site in the H&M tent where festival-goers can buy the collection, take a break from the heat, “and enjoy an interactive social experience,” we’re told. Although Coachella is sold out, for H&M’s social media followers, the retailer will be giving away festival passes and camping passes to the festival throughout March across its social channels.

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And social media is key even for those not planning to go anywhere near a festival this year. The Coachella link is being heavily pushed in the digital locations H&M knows its youthful customer base will visit, as festival-type looks become as much of a general summer option as a festival one. That means a big push on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat via @HMUSA, and on Instagram via @HM.

So what does the collection actually contain? For girls, it’s about folksy blouses, beaded and fringed tops, allover print jumpsuits, denim cut-offs, and accessory essentials including floppy hats, sunglasses, and flat boots. Hemlines are short and embellishments are key. For the boys, there are printed T-shirts and mismatched shirts, bermudas, and denim shorts.

It looks like the offer is wider and deeper than the 2015 collection with H&M designer Ross Lydon saying: ”Last year, H&M was the first brand to team up with Coachella to develop a clothing collection. The success was so rapid and so widespread, we decided to partner again to create an even richer offering this season.”

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This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Comment technology

Press may have pushed “tech” angle of new H&M store, but less than a week since launch, nothing seems to be working

H&M tech store, Times Square
H&M’s deserted digital catwalk in its new Times Square store

I’ve been looking forward to visiting the new H&M store in Times Square since it opened last Thursday off the back of the tech innovation it’s supposed to house. As per the headlines that ran:

I finally got there last night, but unfortunately was sorely disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, from the moment you walk in the space feels fantastic; it’s high energy and it looks beautiful. Three floors and 42,000 square feet of great design, only enhanced by the huge volume of fluorescent signage throughout. But the technology story that’s dominated the press, well… none of it was working.

In the first instance, there are mannequins with screens in front of their faces supposed to play videos, display photos and showcase special deals. Screens that on a busy Tuesday night the week before Thanksgiving in the US, were switched off (as pictured below). All of them.

Then there’s the fitting room checkouts. Not a high tech initiative, but certainly a forward thinking one to help bust queues in a store that’s on one of the most trafficked corners of New York City – 42nd Street and Broadway. Again, closed. And the store was busy.

H&M tech store, Times Square
The blank digital screens in H&M’s new Times Square store

It was the mezzanine level with its dedicated DJ booth supposed to “spin music continuously”, and digitally-enabled runway, that I was most looking forward to. There, shoppers should be able to pose for a series of photos in pieces from the H&M line, and then see themselves displayed on one of the other LED screens around the store (there are 7,000 square feet of LED screens in total, including two 30-by-20-foot ones on the outside of the building).

As per WWD: “Shoppers choose an outfit in the nearby dressing rooms, enter their e-mail address into a computer and await the signal: ‘Walk’ on a red flashing sign. Each ‘model’ is told what time his/her image will be on view on the screens inside and out. Images sent to shoppers’ e-mail accounts can be used on social media.”

When I arrived on that level at about 5.30pm last night, there was no one to be found, not even the DJ (as the top picture shows). A lone sales associate clearing up behind the desk said she hadn’t seen anyone on the catwalk all day so she presumed they weren’t using it. I asked another on the ground floor who said she wasn’t sure but assumed they just had it turned off for the day, and another who said it was broken so she thought they weren’t able to use it. None of them were 100% confident about what was going on.

The computer next to the runway also displayed an error message regarding potential damage to its battery life if left plugged in (as pictured below). I was in the store for about an hour and nothing changed, though I didn’t overly expect it to as the story was the same on Monday night when a colleague of mine also visited.

The disappointment of all this for me is nothing to do with the fact a few glitches mean things aren’t working right now, but more that it’s such a sign of what retailers are achieving at present across the board – aiming too high and delivering too low. No wonder there’s constant push back from senior management about ROI.

There’s a huge amount happening with in-store technology, and a lot of it really exciting stuff that garners an enormous amount of press coverage, but does it really mean anything at all if it doesn’t work merely a few days after the big launch party when most of the journalists have walked away? A classic tale of smoke and mirrors.

I’ve had other experiences recently where I know something is working in a department store but it’s supposed to be a guided experience and without a sales associate on hand to demonstrate it to me I can’t participate in it. That’s essentially the same issue; an attempt at tech integration failed at the first hurdle, that being enabling the consumer to even use it.

There are a lot of arguments about the pros and cons of retail technology these days – from making it feel seamless to the shopper rather than gimmicky and unrelated to the persona of the brand, to ensuring staff are rightly trained to use and demo it – but I would argue the most important thing of all, and I think you’ll agree, is that there needs to be a commitment toward it working for longer than just on opening night.

H&M tech store, Times Square
The empty mezzanine level of H&M’s new Times Square store
H&M tech store, Times Square
H&M’s empty DJ booth in its new Times Square store
H&M tech store, Times Square
An error message on the digital runway screens of H&M’s new Times Square store
H&M tech store, Times Square
An error message on the digital runway screens of H&M’s new Times Square store
H&M tech store, Times Square
A blank digital screen in H&M’s new Times Square store
H&M tech store, Times Square
H&M’s new Times Square store
Categories
e-commerce film social media

Social content fuels H&M’s & Other Stories launch success

If you haven’t already noticed, H&M’s new brand & Other Stories has been doing a phenomenal job of using social media to seed its launch. I first wrote about them doing so here, when content across YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook and more was being teased before much was known about the line at all. The same continued as stores opened in three European cities (including London), and its e-commerce website – also heavy with shareable content – launched just this month. The reception was reportedly “tremendous”.

In a report released today, CEO Karl-Johan Persson said: “Sales, both in stores and online, have far exceeded our high expectations… This opens the possibility that & Other Stories can expand more widely and faster than we originally planned.”

Also unveiled today was another piece of shareable content; this time one tapping into the idea of collaboration. A short film called Co-Creatives (another nice social term there), shows the personal stories of “friends” of the brand including Julia Sarr-Jamois, Valentine Fillol Cordier, Ada Kokosar and Bea Åkerlund as they style their favourite looks from the collection.

Each of them was armed with a Polaroid camera and tasked with capturing their inspirations as they went. It’s a simple short spot, but another great example of how well this team seems to know it’s consumer base…

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film Uncategorized

Spring films arrive from Lanvin, Calvin Klein and David Beckham Bodywear for H&M

It’s been a bit of a week for fashion film releases, with highlights coming in from Lanvin, Calvin Klein and H&M surrounding the spring/summer 2013 campaigns.

 

Lanvin, a firm favourite every season thanks to the genius of creative director Alber Elbaz, has unveiled a spot that seems as though it’s just focusing on the print shoot in action. The models are each seen posing in beautiful surrounds very calmly, before suddenly a Skype call comes in from Elbaz who was unable to get to New York due to Hurricane Sandy.

What follows is highly amusing commentary from him on the “sick perspective” and “beautiful lighting” of the campaign. “It’s very very poetic, very chic,” he says. “There’s something very Californian about [it]… You know I’m still at the office. I feel I’m in a dream, I feel I’m in a cloud.”

 

Calvin Klein meanwhile, followed its Super Bowl underwear spot with the rest of its spring/summer campaign. Actor Alexander Skarsgård and model Suvi Koponen both star in its film, Provocations, which sees the men’s and women’s Calvin Klein Collection, ck Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans brands all brought together for the first time. There are three variations of it available: 10 minutes, 60 seconds and 30 seconds (above).

Shot on location in California by Fabien Baron of Baron + Baron, it focuses on recurring elements of fire, air and water as the pair are seen in a variety of “sleek, architectural settings to dark and mysterious milieus”.

 

And H&M roped in film director Guy Ritchie to shoot David Beckham in his first video spot for the retailer. The ad sees Beckham chasing after his family car after his bathrobe gets stuck in the door. As he runs / jumps / swims through the Beverly Hills neighbourhood he continues to lose other items of clothing remaining in just the boxers from his Bodywear line.

“David makes the perfect leading man,” said Ritchie. “For me this felt more than a campaign; it was like directing a short film.”

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Uncategorized

Video: Anna Dello Russo announces H&M collection

This is a great video interview with fashion icon Anna Dello Russo in conjunction with today’s announcement of her forthcoming accessories collection for H&M.

Set in her private home, it simultaneously provides an intimate look at her own enormous collection of clothes and accessories (which she refers to as her “fashion bibliothèque”), and amusingly touches on her self-opinion as a fashion victim.

 

The H&M line will include jewellery, sunglasses, shoes and bags, and launch on October 4.

“I am excited by this collaboration: this is the first time H&M involves a fashion director in a special project. This is the sign of an important evolution in fashion, and I am both thrilled and humbled to be the one chosen to lead it. I wanted to create precious accessories that are impossible to find.  As a stylist I know accessorization is essential: it is the personal touch to any outfit. With these pieces everybody can have fun, turning an ordinary day into a fantastic fashion day,” she said.

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digital snippets Uncategorized

Digital snippets 08/04

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital this week:

  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to launch personalised shopping website, StyleMint.com [The Cut]
  • Miu Miu unveils new e-store in US, Japan and across Europe [FTape]
  • Behind the scenes with the celebs in H&M’s new Fashion Against AIDS campaign [Interview]
  • Style.com to launch print edition [Adweek]
  • Twitter to offer brand pages in the same vein as Facebook [Marketing]
  • Living Social valued at $3bn after funding round [Dealbook]