H&M to hit catwalks of Paris fashion week

Swedish cheap n' chic fashion giant H&M will take to the catwalk at Paris fashion week for the first time on Wednesday, hard on the heels of its Helen Hunt red carpet coup at the Academy Awards.

H&M to hit catwalks of Paris fashion week

Best supporting actress nominee Hunt bucked the trend for haute couture by teaming an enormous diamond necklace with a strapless midnight blue H&M gown at last Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.

Now the budget apparel company is trying to storm another barricade by taking on prêt-à-porter week in Paris.

The show, featuring 25 outfits for autumn/winter 2013, will take place in the spectacular surroundings of Paris’s Rodin Museum, which is dedicated to the works of French sculptor August Rodin.

The museum was a “mythical place” perfectly suited to the chain’s plan to make an impact and provide an element of surprise, said a statement, adding the show could be viewed live on the chain’s website

H&M has seen rapid recent expansion, including in China, with over 2,500 stores worldwide by the end of May 2012. Last year, the company opened stores in new markets Bulgaria, Mexico, Latvia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Wednesday is the second day of the Paris shows. The city is playing host to nearly 90 ready-to-wear collections and presentations over nine days, wrapping up on March 6th.

AFP/The Local/og

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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.  

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