- Joining other retailers in metaverse experimentation, H&M debuted a virtual-inspired collection, the H&M Innovation Metaverse Design Story, in its H&M Williamsburg store on Friday. It will release it in the H&M Times Square location and on its website Thursday, the retailer announced last week.
- Inspired by the metaverse concept, the physical collection features various items, including a neon-yellow dress, a beaded black bomber jacket, metallic sandals and futuristic jewelry. Circularity was a focus for the retailer, and some items are made with recycled polyester fibers gathered from H&M’s in-store garment-collection program, the retailer said.
- Alongside the physical products is a digital collection. A series of augmented reality lenses made with the Institute of Digital Fashion and powered by Snapchat allow consumers to try the collection virtually. H&M also launched an interactive metaverse experience tied to the digital garments on its website on Thursday.
H&M’s metaverse-inspired collection is part of the retailer’s Innovation Stories initiative, a series of themed collections which launched last year to promote sustainable materials, technologies and production methods. The initiative has previously highlighted fabrics that reclaim waste, circular design processes and alternatives to animal-based materials, per the announcement.
“The increasingly virtual dimension of fashion creates exciting future opportunities for H&M, allowing us to create vibrant, bold and daring virtual counterparts to our physical collections. In addition to the endless creative possibilities, it also allows us to propose a more sustainable and inclusive fashion vision that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world,” Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative adviser at H&M, said in a statement.
Retailers are increasingly bridging their in-store and online clothing collections. Forever 21, for example, launched its Barbie Summer 2022 collection of apparel, sleepwear, accessories, swimwear and cosmetics in stores, on its website and in Forever 21 Shop City on Roblox in June.
H&M’s Williamsburg location, where the metaverse-inspired collection debuted, opened last month. The 7,000-square-foot retail space will be open until January and will serve as a hub for exclusive programming and community gatherings.
That same month, H&M said it planned to lay off 1,500 workers to cut costs. The layoffs and other cost-cutting measures are expected to save the retailer 2 billion Swedish Krona (about $188 million at the time of the announcement).
Despite its financial trouble, the company has shown some signs of growth. In its Q4 earnings report, H&M reported a 10% increase in Q4 net sales and a 12% bump in sales for the fiscal year 2022. However, that growth fell below its expectations and signals stiff competition from rivals.