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H&M

Japanese icon to design H&M’s autumn collection

Swedish cheap'n chic clothing chain H&M said on Thursday the Japanese founder of the Comme des Garcons fashion house, Rei Kawakubo, would guest design its autumn collection.

“Rei Kawakubo has been at the top of our wish list for a long time and we are thrilled that she has chosen to collaborate with us,” H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch said in a statement.

The Swedish retail giant said the launch of the collection would take place at the opening of H&M’s second store in Tokyo at the beginning of November, and that the designer’s creations would go on sale at its more than 1,500 other outlets around the world a few days later.

Since 2004, H&M has invited famous designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Roberto Cavalli to design limited, high-end collections that have been sold at relatively low prices at its stores.

“I have always been interested in the balance between creation and business … It is a fascinating challenge to work with H&M since it is a chance to take the dilemma to its extreme, and try to solve it,” Kawakubo, who created Comme des Garcons in 1973, said in the statement.

H&M

H&M competitor to sponsor Sweden’s Olympic team

Six months after establishing itself in Stockholm, Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo has announced it will sponsor Sweden’s athletes at the 2020 Olympics.

H&M competitor to sponsor Sweden's Olympic team
Anna Hasselborg of Sweden's curling team tries out new kit supplied for the country's athletes by Uniqlo. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The clothing chain, one of the world’s fastest-growing retail companies, is also set to open more stores in the Scandinavian country.

“Swedes are so sophisticated and warm-hearted,” Uniqlo Europe CEO Taku Morikawa said, stressing how welcome his company has been made to feel.

Morikawa was in Sweden to present the partnership between Uniqlo and the Swedish Olympic Committee at an event at Uniqlo’s store on Hamngatan in Stockholm.

Sweden’s athletes wore teamwear supplied by H&M at the last two Olympic Games.

The Stockholm store, Uniqlo’s first in the Nordic region, opened its doors in August 2018. An expansion is now planned on the Swedish market, although Morikawa declined to reveal where.

“We definitely have plans to open more stores here,” he said.

A store will also open in Danish capital Copenhagen in the coming spring as Uniqlo’s holding company Fast Retailing continues its global expansion.

Sales figures in Sweden’s clothing retail sector have seen a downward trend in recent years, with an exception in 2015.

H&M is usually cited as one of Uniqlo’s main competitors.

The impact of a new player on an already-competitive market is difficult to predict, according to the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel).

“Locally, competition is sharpened, but competition is already fierce. I would be inclined to say that this type of partly new concept store can, instead, help to revitalise the physical retail sector for clothing,” the association’s head economist Johan Davidson said.  

READ ALSO: H&M profit down sharply despite rise in online sales

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