According to WAVE-TV late Wednesday evening, representatives for Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M confirmed that they will be opening a store in Louisville by the autumn of 2013. For fans of the retail chain based out of Stockholm who have had to visit their stores in Cincinnati and Indianapolis – 90 minutes and 2 hours away respectively – this is great news to hear.
But for those who have not heard of H&M, allow Louisville.com to lead the way, from its history to what to expect when the store finally arrives as the leaves fall later this year.
H&M – H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB if you’re nasty – was established in Västerås, Sweden in 1947 by late founder Erling Persson as Hennes, Swedish for “hers,” as the retailer only sold womenswear in the beginning. Persson created Hennes after a post-war trip to the United States, having been impressed and inspired by high-volume retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Sears. In 1968, Persson acquired the Stockhom-based hunting equipment store Maurtiz Widforss, adopting part of the store’s name into its own.
Today, H&M is the second largest global retailer just behind Spanish fast fashion retailer Zara (nearest location to Louisville is in Chicago, if interested), and ahead of U.S.-based Gap Inc., with offerings for men, women and children. The company has footprints in 43 countries with nearly 2,700 stores and 94,000 employees. The retailer is known for its collaborations with the heavy-hitters of the fashion world, from Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney in the mid-2000s to Anna Della Russo and Maison Martin Margiela in recent times. The first flagship store in the United States opened on Fifth Avenue in New York March 2000, expanding nationwide over the past 13 years.
As for what to expect out of H&M, one thing to keep in mind is that they are a fast fashion retailer, meaning that what you’ll see come down the runways of Lincoln Center next month for New York Fashion Week A\W 2013 will be in in H&M stores within a month or so. The items are designed and produced as quickly and as cheaply as possible so as to bring the hottest trends to the masses at an affordable price while said trends are still in the eye of the fashion world. The downside is that such items tend to not last beyond a season or two, owing to the disposable nature that fast fashion promotes as it seeks the next trend to remanufacture as quickly as Secretariat ran in the Kentucky Derby.
For more information on H&M, visit hm.com/us. The retailer will offer online ordering in the U.S. this summer for those who can’t wait until the first Louisville store opens in the fall.