The eagerly awaited arrival of H&M's new brand & Other Stories has finally made its global debut with the opening of its Regent Street store in London. Announced only six months ago, the newest addition to the high street has been three years inthe making, and is being billed as a 'one stop shop' selling not only clothes but shoes, lingerie, bags, accessories, skincare products and make-up, recognising that clothes themselves don’t make an outfit.
Located in the former Mamas & Papas store, the two-storey retail space has been given an industrial makeover, with the baby-proofed interior gone and replaced with warehouse chic with exposed fixtures, white metal stairs, bare floors and lighting rigs as spotlights.
The latest offering from the Swedish fashion group sits in between H&M and COS, and when looking over the pieces it seems that the ethos of & Other Stories is very similar to that of COS from the price point to the quality, however & Other Stories will offer more choice and will be more focused on personal style rather than trend-led pieces.
There are four different ready-to-wear collections, industrial, poetic and dandy, feminine and glamorous, and tailored and strong, each have been handled by a different design team for instance the poetic that mixes feminine with masculine inspiration was developed by the Parisian team, whereas the raw industrial pieces have come from the Stockholm studio. The idea behind the different collections is to allow customers to mix and match to create their own personal style and to add investment pieces to their current wardrobes.
In addition to the store’s own brand, the retailer has collaborated with a number of designers, however unlike H&M who have partnered with the likes of Versace and Karl Lagerfeld, the ‘Co-Lab’ collection is with emerging designers such as Clare Vivier from Los Angeles who has designed a 15-piece handbag and purse line and Abigail Lorick from New York who has designed a number of shoes.
One of the main aspects of & Other Stories is the prominence of the jewellery, the make-up, the lingerie and the leather handbags, they are dotted around the store alongside the clothes, stylised together as outfits rather than after thoughts sectioned off at the back. The store also has a dedicated shoe department featuring all the footwear that is showcased throughout the store including sculptural heels, chunky ankle boots and some that have been designed by a former Acne designer.
Another highlight of the store design is the changing rooms, which unlike most on the high street are spacious, have floor-to-ceiling mirrors, flattering lighting and even have magnetic-edged curtains so you can actually close them.
The London store is the debut of & Other Stories, which will be followed with openings in Copenhagen, Milan, Barcelona, Stockholm, Berlin and Paris. Additionally, the brand is also launching an online store that will ship across Europe.
Article and images: Danielle Wightman-Stone