It’s high time that high street picked up its feet on Australian shores. Certainly, ZARA and TOPSHOP have seen their own successes in a year or two of operating in our barren retail landscape, but as is the case with all good things, you don’t know you need them until they’re not around. Down Under, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the reverse – cue years of stocking up on fast fashion any time you left the country, green-eying the ironically inaccessible accessible pieces from girlfriends’ such international adventures, and getting Swedish friends to line up at ungodly hours to buy designer collaboration pieces – creative director, Margareta van den Bosch, admitted that this was the only downside for H&M’s hyperspeed rate of store openings in the Asia-Pacific region, when we chatted at a shiny new Australian H&M showroom a few weeks before the Melbourne store launch. It’s not the jetsetters’ special secret anymore, she laughed. Though, the Winter collection designed exclusively for Australia would hopefully make up for that decade-long sense of #FOMO – and have every Sydney-sider on a flight to the other fashion capital to snap up the best Fall/Winter fuzzies I’ve shot in a long time.
Alex and I are seriously considering a Melbourne jaunt in our mid-semester break – and flights costing as little as this checked sweater at the moment, who wouldn’t?
Beyond discussing the eponymous differences between Margaret and Margareta, the latter also reiterated that H&M does not do anything fifty percent. And, anybody who’s been swallowed by the enormity of the new GPO store can attest to its attention to the consumer. As far as I’ve experienced by way of international retailers entering our rolling brick-and-mortar sphere, H&M, by Margareta’s analysis of the Swedish powerhouse’s approach, to a digitally dedicated market and Generation Y, is the only player that has stepped down from being the big guy bringing God’s gifts (loosely translated to dumping overseas sale product in stores for the opposite Southern Hemisphere season), to properly researching what their customer will respond to and broadcast to their own circle of influence, for the highest Seismic ripple effect you’ve seen in a long time.
Of course, Margareta pointed out that her colleagues had been closely monitoring the market and competitor mistakes for years before even committing to the initiating process. And hell, it’s well worth it – right down to the savvy local team employed to manage tailored marketing and awareness campaigns as the company grounds its Australian branches, Margareta visiting emerging Australian designers at our best fashion design colleges to get a sense of the local style aesthetic, and impeccable timing with the consumer frenzy right off the back of H&M’s Alexander Wang announcement.
You have that freedom when your brand identity is as powerful as H&M’s.
It’s just a matter of months before the rest of the pack follow.