One of the biggest names in the world of fashion retail is H&M (Hennes & Mauritz). It holds second place for being the largest clothing retailer in the whole world, with a considerable presence in 33 countries. Even if you haven’t shopped at H&M, it is likely that you have heard of its name. It has a global repute and has been the recipient of accolades time and again. But, we cannot know everything about a brand just by visiting its stores or in hearsay. The empire of H&M is powerful and huge, and so many things contribute to making it what it is right now.
H&M is one of my personal favorites, and I would like my readers to know at least something about it. Here are a few things about this brand everyone should know.
- It started in Sweden
A small shop in Västerås, Sweden was opened up by Erling Persson in the year 1947. The shop was christened as Hennes, which in the Swedish language means “Hers”. As the name suggests, the shop was aimed at providing women fashion retail.
It was only two decades later that menswear was included in the collection following the acquisition of Mauritz Widforss. For much of its existence, H&M has been involved in the manufacture and marketing of fashion wear. It was only in the year 2008 that it announced its decision to venture into the home furnishings market.
- More Brands under its wings
H&M Company has other brands in addition to the H&M brand, These brands, presently, are 5 in number which are based on different concepts. These brands are COS, a fashion brand focussed on minimalist style of clothing; & Other Stories, a fashion brand targeting high-quality women’s fashion; ARKET, which is often called the modern-day market and even manages an in-house café; Cheap Monday, a brand known for its peculiar logo and that operates an online store as well; FaBric Scandinavian AB, a Swedish brand whose shares were purchased by the company; Monki, a brand that sells clothing for young women and is known for its imaginative take on creations; and Weekday, which ships across 140 markets.
- Turning Employees into social ambassadors
H&M USA experimented with the idea of turning its employees into social ambassadors of the brand. The company selected these employees from a total 16,000 of its employees working across the country.
The selection was based on a number of aspects such as personality, location, and style of these employees. The aim is to provide representation to the diverse employee base of the company in the country. The said program, called the H&M Insiders, started with 22 social ambassadors who entered into a year-long partnership with the company.
- Global Change Award
H&M initiated the Global Change Award in the year 2015 which quickly garnered critical acclaim. Regarded as the Nobel Prize of Fashion, the award is given to those who have respected the boundaries of nature and contributed to sustainable fashion. H&M receives more than 20,000 entries every year and from across 200 countries. The winners of this prize have done some amazing work in the field of fashion. For example, a 2019 winner was the company Petit Pli, which designed expandable clothing for children. In 2018, the company Circular Systems used food crop harvests as materials for creating eco-friendly textiles. Another winner of the 2018 year was Tandem Repeat, a company that created self-recuperating textiles that help reduce waste generation.
- Eco-friendly Initiatives
The 21st century is increasingly becoming ‘woke’ about the need to encourage sustainable fashion. Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is taking positive steps towards introducing eco-friendly fashion and has also collaborated with many organizations for the same cause. In the year 2014, it joined Zara and other major fashion brands to overhaul their supply chain for protecting forests.
In order to protect ancient forests, H&M collaborated with an NGO called Canopy in the same year. It has also started a non-profit foundation called the H&M Foundation that is aimed at improving the standard of living, raising awareness about environmental health, and women empowerment. The said foundation received voluminous donations from various stakeholders, especially the founders, the Persson family. In the year 2015, the company announced an annual award in the area of eco-friendly technologies.
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