Yesterday we were treated to the news that fêted British designer J.W.Anderson is collaborating with Uniqlo and today more exciting news from the high street has been announced, as Swedish retail giant H&M revealed to Business of Fashion it's launching a new brand, Arket.
The new store which adds to the H&M group's growing roster of brands COS, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Monki and Weekday, will be a modern-day market that will offer essential products for men, women and children as well as a curated edit of homeware.
Arket – we're not yet convinced by the name, meaning 'sheet of paper' in Swedish – will stock its own products (which will be slightly more expensive than H&M, with clothing ranging from approximately £33 to £100) alongside a selection of non-H&M brands. The first retail store will open on Regent Street in London, towards the end of summer or early autumn this year and e-stores will launch in 18 European countries to coincide with the opening of the first bricks-and-mortar space, with additional stores to follow in Brussels, Copenhagen and Munich.
Arket will not only offer clothing and homeware as select stores will include a café serving healthy ‘new Nordic’ cuisine. As excited as we are about an in-store café (most of the fun in going to Ikea is stopping for a meatball-lunch after all) we're more interested in the new brand aesthetic and how it will differ to the other names in the H&M group. "The brand DNA is timeless, crisp, quality and warmth," Ulrika Bernhardtz, Arket’s creative director, told BoF. "Timeless is style beyond trend. And crisp is the counterpart to that: to be always relevant, modern and fresh. Quality is not only the feel of garments; it's also how they are produced. Warmth is about being genuine and personal."
Ten years ago, COS opened its first store, swiftly becoming a high street hit and the H&M group later expanded with & Other Stories, another instant style success. If Arket is half as good as its H&M group sisters, we'll be hotfooting it to the store as soon as it opens.