i have celebrated the branding of swedish hasbeens since the beginning, and although i find their shoes clumsy-looking, i own a bag and have always appreciated their knack in creating a fully solid brand image and story with an actual basis in reality. that is, they have given body to their marketing jargon with their commitment to ethical local production that celebrates the history of swedish craftmanship. i never considered them a design forward company, but a nostalgia driven provider of handmade quality wrapped in a package that appeals to the current tastes of urban fashionistas. and they did well – so far, that is.
as my readers should know, i have nothing against h&m, per se, although i rarely buy anything from there; it comes more down to cutting down consumption than a boycott of any kind. i am fully aware of the ethical dilemmas of the fashion industry. it isn't news to me that consumer prices are full of air – although i truly wish gina tricot doesn't add too much to theirs for the sake of paying minimally humane wages. blah blah blah.
my point is not that there's something wrong about creating accessible goods by lowering the price, because this is a brand specific rant.
|pic courtesy of h&m.|
i only see one loser here: swedish hasbeens. was it that they realized that the hipster community stranded them for the next brand or trend, flimsy as they tend to be? did they calculate that providing products for the ethically inclined consumer base was not enough to meet their growth expectancy? were we just not buying enough of their shoes?
i find it sad because they destroyed their credibility as a local and sustainable brand by forming the wrong kind of alliance. h&m appeals to the masses and helps create press thus promoting sales, but at what cost?
was it really worth selling their beautifully branded soul...
what do you think?
edit: it has become apparent that swedish hasbeens have suffered from their collaboration in ways that was unexpected: h&m has (most probably) accidentally revealed that the eco-brand blatantly lies on their website: on 9 feb 2011 the page still says:
They are still handmade with respect for people and the environment in the same small Swedish factory since the 1970's. Our production methods and material are kind to nature and people. Happy toffels make happy people.h&m's press office told bloggers inquiring about the clogs that they are made in the same factory in romania as original swedish hasbeens. what an inconvenient truth.