H&M’s newest brand launched in April last year. Arket is Swedish for ‘sheet of paper’, which is fitting as there is a clear sense of Nordic minimalism apparent throughout the store. However, this name isn’t just reflected in the aesthetic, it is also translated into the fundamental ambiance of the brand.
By prioritising durability, sustainability and transparency, Arket is setting an example to modern day retailers. It is quite the contrast from the disposable fashion approach traditionally taken by H&M.
In this day and age, traditional stores aren’t going to cut it anymore. Customers are looking for an experience. Something that encourages them to take time out of their day to go to a physical store, rather than taking the convenient online shopping route. Arket know this, and have focused on creating a rounded retail experience by incorporating a café into every store. Fittingly, the cafe follows this Nordic Manifesto, by selling food with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
Arket has created a concept that aligns with the values of the modern-day conscious consumer. This is certainly a departure for a brand so synonymous with fast fashion. H&M continues to roll out Arket, there are now 5 stores in the UK, with the first one outside of the south east/London recently opened in the city of Liverpool.
So, is this an indication that the Gen Z consumer will eschew fast fashion with all its waste implications in favour of products designed and produced with a more sustainable ethos?
It remains to be seen if other retail groups follow suit to engage the concerned consumer…