Being a fashion-forward company, H&M releases approximately one or two fashion designer collaborations yearly. Perhaps one of the first retailers to foray into designer collaborations, the Swedish clothing company makes high fashion becoming far more attainable for the average person. The yearly affair started in 2004 with Karl Lagerfeld being the first and subsequently continuing with other great designers such as Rei Kawakubo and Alber Elbaz. It comes to no surprise that majority of these collections sell out like hot cakes. Here are a few of H&M best designer collaboration over the years.
Karl Lagerfeld (2004)
Probably not the best start to a collaboration due to their limited runs of clothing, Lagerfeld has even publicly claimed that he would never work with H&M again. Nonetheless, the clothing’s were sold out in most cities within one hour. The collection was available in approximately 500 H&M stores in 19 countries and was advertised through a tongue-in-cheek video campaign mocking the high-fashion community. H&M even provided breakfast to the first 200 customers and a free limited edition Karl Lagerfeld t-shirt.
Roberto Cavalli (2007)
Known for their luxury Italian clothing with exotic prints, the Roberto Cavalli collection caused havoc when it hit the stores in 2007. It was available in 200 H&M stores in over 24 countries. The collection was flying off the shelves of the flagship H&M branch in London and within the first 3 minutes, they were already out of stock. This collection was introduced through a campaign that was shot by Terry Richardson at Cavalli’s hilltop home in Florence.
Commes des Garcons (2008)
Taking a different route from the Cavalli’s seductive clothing line, H&M collaborated with Rei Kawakubo’s imaginative and out-of-the-box designs. The collection included 30 women’s and 20 men’s pieces that were ornamented with polka dots. Pieces were cut asymmetrically as well as incorporated patchwork paneling. A unisex fragrance and accessory line were also included in the Commes des Garcons collection. It was sold in 200 H&M stores over 28 countries. Before being released internationally, the collection debuted in Tokyo, Japan.
Perhaps one of the most prominent H&M collections, Donatella Versace featured all of her iconic pieces which she named the “greatest hits’ collection. The theme for the dazzling collection included pieces that incorporated gold, Greek keys, and pink suiting. This line was promoted through their campaign which featured popular musicians such as Prince and Nick Minaj. It comes to no surprise that the collection sold out in a heartbeat where their online site also crashed due to heavy traffic. The collection was available in 300 H&M stores over 43 countries. On the other hand, a home decoration was also introduced in this collection.
After the extravagant collection that Versace offered, H&M decided to tone down by collaborating with Marni’s mellow clothing line which focused on minimalist aesthetic. This was the first time that H&M implemented the wristband system that only allowed each customer to have 10 minutes of shopping each time. The collection was available in 260 stores in 48 countries. The launch of the collection was supported by award-winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola.
Maison Martin Margiela (2012)
For this collection, it was more of a partnership between Maison Matin Margiela and H&M. Thus, it was known as more of a retrospective project than a true collaboration. They simply reissued many of their deconstructionist classics at a much affordable price. The collection was a reconstruction of their old pieces which were painted jeans, jackets made from leather belts, and camel topcoats with the collars shorn off. Taking a similar approach from another popular designer, Rousteing Balmain, Margiela recreated items left over from H&M’s past collections instead of working on new items, so that the pieces could be sold at a much lower price. Furthermore, each item would be labeled with a tag giving details in which collection the piece first appeared. The collection was available in 230 stores in over 48 countries.
Alexander Wang (2014)
Introducing a modern, sporty line, Alexander Wang’s collection features an all-black palette as well as a heavy usage of Neoprene and contemporary designs. Wang was also the first and youngest American designer to collaborate with the Swedish brand. The collection sold was available in 250 stores over 54 countries.