In conversation with Ann-Sofie Johansson, head of design and creative advisor at H&M, and Linda Wikell, concept designer at H&M Studio about the brand’s 10-year journey and its A/W2023 collection.
Last year, the Gothic Romantic aesthetic became famous courtesy of Wednesday Adams (after the Netflix series ‘Wednesday’). It was the trifecta of sophisticated dressing, schoolgirl silhouettes and dark, sensual colours. A design philosophy we were fully on board with until we hit a pink-hued bump on the way. Things seem to be turning around as black is coming back, starting with H&M Studio’s A/W 23 collection. Inspired by the heroines of horror movies, the collection is a study in restrain with sharp tailoring, sculpted outerwear and minimal, modern accessories.
Launching on September 28 on the hm.com website and in selected stores, the H&M Studio collection is a mix of feminine and masculine elements. A tailored maxi coat with a nipped-in waist, shirts with oversized bows, jeans with rhinestones and dresses with crisp white collars are all great examples of it. The H&M Studio collection is majority made from more sustainably sourced materials including recycled polyester and Tencel. The label was launched in 2013 and its limited-edition collections are developed in-house by a dedicated design team in Stockholm. With 10 years under its belt, its design-forward offerings are in sync with upcoming trends and a testament to the brand’s savoir-faire.
Tell us about the moodboard/inspiration for H&M Studio’s A/W23 collection.
Linda Wikell: We were energised by fashion’s return to black – it’s such a simple but effective shade, and it felt fresh after years of super bright colour and print and texture. It got us thinking about horror movie heroines with striking black wardrobes full of decisive tailoring and sculptural silhouettes. We wanted to have a mix in the collection of special pieces that set your heart racing and give you a thrill, as well as very wearable items that you can wear in lots of different combinations.
The collection is said to be inspired by horror movie heroines, any specific movies you can cite and how has it been translated?
Linda Wikell: The team has eclectic taste, so there wasn’t one movie in particular that stood out on the moodboard. It was more about capturing an attitude of calm decisiveness. We wanted to channel a heroine who coolly buttons up her black overcoat, pulls on her black boots and gets to work. We also talked a lot about the concept of “thrillers”, and how fashion can thrill you – when a great jacket is so well-tailored it gives you the shivers! So we hope we have a balance of special one-off pieces and wardrobe classics in the collection.
What are the key silhouettes for AW23?
Linda Wikell: The Studio team has worked really hard on the fit for A/W23, making sure the waists on the jackets and coats cinch in and hang just so, that the pencil skirt and trousers hug you in all the right places. The silhouette is tailored and modern, with strong shoulders, sculpted waists and flared sleeves contrasting with slouchy knitwear and shaggy, oversized outerwear.
How does the brand distinguish between H&M’s main line and Studio Collection? Especially in terms of design language.
Ann-Sofie Johansson: H&M Studio is our most fashion-forward collection, conceived in premium materials and designed to encompass statement pieces as well as wardrobe classics. We launched it in 2013 in order to demonstrate what we could do in terms of design at H&M, and we’ve produced biannual collections every year since created by a dedicated design team in Stockholm. For me, H&M Studio is a destination for fashion pieces that make your heart beat a bit faster, as well as the really refined wardrobe essentials, like the perfect trench coat, or the perfect tailored suit.
Tell us about the H&M Studio’s 10-year celebrations and what the brand has in store for the seasons ahead.
Ann-Sofie Johansson: The 10-year anniversary of H&M Studio seemed like a good opportunity for us to step back and reflect on everything we’ve achieved. We’re really proud of how the H&M Studio collections have evolved over the years, in terms of design, quality and point of view. We’re excited to announce that H&M Studio will enter a new era from A/W23, evolving into a creative framework that encompasses multiple H&M Studio collections and themed drops per year. We’re very happy to be able to develop more high-quality, high-fashion collections that will cater to our style-conscious customers.
All Images: Courtesy H&M Studio.