H&M’s New Collaboration is Every Fashionista’s Dream

An annual highlight of the high street fashion calendar, H&M’s forthcoming designer collaboration is one for the maximalists.

Following in the footsteps of an esteemed list of fashion houses including Versace, Erdem, Giambattista Valli and most recently The Vampire’s Wife, London-based designer Simone Rocha is the latest to partner with the Swedish retail giant on a capsule collection launching worldwide on 11 March.

Not just providing a gateway for lovers of the Simone Rocha aesthetic to snag a piece of the brand at an accessible price point, the designer has indicated that reworkings of garments from her past collections might also hold special appeal to her existing customer base.

“My approach at every stage of the design process was to remember that for some this would be an introduction to Simone Rocha, a chance to enjoy the brand for the first time, while for others this will be a chance to recall the history of a brand that they have followed for a while. Maybe they will be able to buy a version of a piece that they missed the first time, or a piece they always wanted but didn’t get.”

An offering that comprises womenswear, menswear and childrenswear and ticks every box from shirting, knits, tailoring and T-shirts, to trench coats, tulle dresses, sparkly accessories and other clothes for special occasions, the collection draws upon Rocha’s Chinese-Irish background, with many a nod to the traditions and crafts of Hong Kong, as well as tartan accents that speak to her Gaelic heritage. The designer’s predilection for ‘girlish’ elements with an edgy twist is also prominent; the expected assortment of florals, beading, Victorian collars and pearls all making an appearance, in a palette dominated by pinks and reds and grounded by black and cream.

Coinciding with Simone Rocha’s 10th year in business, the launch of H&M x Simone Rocha will undoubtedly give the designer double the reason to celebrate, but she’s not the only one. “Simone Rocha has been on the H&M wish-list for some time,” says H&M creative advisor, Ann-Sofie Johansson. “[We] have been so inspired to work with a female designer who spends so much time thinking about contemporary femininity, and womanhood, and who is so committed to excellence in craft and design, from the process of developing special fabrications, to pushing silhouettes, shapes and embellishments. Every garment within this collection is unique, special and the result of years of work and meticulous research.”

London Fashion Week to Go Fully Virtual with No Live Audiences

London Fashion Week will go ahead in February, but will be fully virtual and have no live audiences.

After consultations with U.K. government ministers, the British Fashion Council announced that the biannual event will be happening from 19 to 23 February, but all shows and presentations will have to be pre-recorded or livestreamed to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.

Filming and photography can still take place, however “all permitted activity that involves interaction with individuals outside of immediate households is under constant review”, the organisation added in a statement.

Caroline Rush, chief executive officer of the BFC, urged the government to offer more support to the fashion industry amid the global health crisis, and asked for designers and models to be given quarantine travel exemptions.

“The BFC continues to ask Government to engage in support of the fashion industry,” she stated. “One of the main active requests is to allow key creative and model talent to travel to and from the U.K. with a phased introduction of quarantine exemptions for the fashion industry, in order to carry out essential business, to protect the competitiveness of the British fashion industry.”

Rush is hopeful that the digital-only event will drum up support for the sector, and wants more to be done to help those in the industry, including freelance and independent creatives.

“Our industry is one of amazing creativity and this is more true in the U.K. than any other country. The majority of businesses and individuals we work with are independent businesses and creatives who contribute significantly to the cultural and creative reputation of our country,” she added.