H&M

Can elevated basics help fix the fast fashion problem?



Back to Basics - the rise of blank staples

What’s the appeal of blank staples?

H&M just launched Blank Staples, a line of sub American Apparel plain sweats and tees marketed in the millennial language of muted minimalism to capture the post-COVID, stay-home crowd. Meanwhile, COS (also owned by the H&M group) has launched its Core by COS* collection, which will feature seasonal wardrobe essentials for men and women.

The H&M product (below) actually looks really nice. I’m not a tracksuit kinda girl but I do have a fetish for superior quality heavyweight sweatshirts and hoodies. The Blank Staples line is a collaboration with the media brand Highsnobiety, so is targeting the maturing streetwear crowd who want quieter sporty staples. The product – well-cut sweats*, tees*, hoodies* and track pants* in 460g cotton (sweats) and 240g terry cotton (tees) with zero branding or embellishment – comes in calm neutrals around the £12-£30 mark. In streetwear speak, it’s a ‘drop’ model, meaning when they’re gone, they’re gone. (Where they failed is by not making this gender-netural. Missed a massive trick by excluding women – or womxn even – there, guys!)

Highsnobiety X H&M Blank Staples
Highsnobiety X H&M Blank Staples hoodies
The Core by COS* collection (below) is more varied. Made from sustainably sourced materials, it features a variety of Scandi casual-luxe staples like trench coats, sweats and stripy tees. The kind of stuff you always expect to find at COS but marketed as a standalone edit.

Core by COS

So why is this interesting?

If you didn’t see it, the New York Times has a very good article on the death of fashion as we know it, pointing to the excess production problem and unsustainable thirst for fast consumption. This all started before the pandemic but in the wake of COVID I can see more brands pulling back from capital F Fashion and using these minimalist staple collections as something of a palate cleanser. Even though they may seem unexciting, well-made basics can do as much to reinvigorate your wardrobe as a statement piece. If people are being more careful about how they spend, they’ll want the pieces with longevity. Quality is key here.

Of course, as is inevitable, once all the brands jump on this bandwagon, the consumer will get bored rather quickly. And that’s when they start craving novelty again. It’s this cycle that drives Fashion after all, and it was ever thus. But could the cycle be slowed once they have tasted the pleasure of a more considered pace? Well that’s the $64,000 question. To be continued…

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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Daria Werbowy by David Sims for Paris Vogue; Highsnobiety X H&M Blank Staples x 2; COS
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Shop the post: Giuliva Heritage x H&M (updated)



Giuliva Heritage X H&M

This new fast-meets-slow fashion collab from H&M* arrives in time for ‘back to school’ season.

Giuliva Heritage
is an Italian tailoring brand specialising in timeless silhouettes and hand-finished details. Its capsule H&M collection featuring suiting, shirt dresses and layering knits made from eco conscious materials (including recycled wool and organic cotton) launches on 3rd September. (UPDATE: It’s launched! Shop the post below.)

Giuliva Heritage X HM (more…)



High-low fashion: H&M X Eytys is selling out fast



H&M X Eytys collaboration

The H&M group really is killing it on the high street imo. COS, Arket and & Other Stories are my current high street go-tos for perennial pieces with a fashion edge that aren’t going to date by the time I’ve hung them up.

H&M has just created another winner with its H&M X Eytys collab of unisex shoes, clothes and accessories that just launched last week. It’s a pretty tight collection of streety chinos, boxy tees and the signature Eytys sneaker – in fact, lots of the best bits have already sold out online. (more…)



The DRG retail index: Topshop, Benetton, H&M, Uniqlo




Here’s ALISON FARRINGTON’S latest monthly retail round up celebrating newness and innovation on the high street. Benetton is getting a reboot with a 90s nostalgia branding fest; Topshop is also dialling up a reboot for its Boutique collection; H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection drops with new closed-loop fabrications and Uniqlo celebrates its LifeWear design principle with a Paris exhibition and pop-up

Topshop Boutique 2018


TOPSHOP REJUVENATES BOUTIQUE

Topshop wants to put its premium Boutique line back on the shopping agenda for a new generation of customers that are probably more grown-up and discerning than the retail brand has been talking to in recent years. Boutique is now about a point of difference, global design director Anthony Cuthbertson told the Evening Standard: ‘We are creating perfect wardrobe staples for the contemporary woman,’ he says, adding that the brand will offer investment pieces that are built to last. (more…)