H&M introduced its experimental Studio line a few years ago, yet many shoppers at the international giant are still unaware of its existence. While most of H&M’s clothing is appealing to many for its low price and inoffensive, basic design, H&M Studio is marketed towards a more mature audience, one that is conscious of current trends but will not shell out high-end money. With the Fall/Winter 2016 collection, the line continues to carry out that vision effectively.

 

It is quite widely accepted that H&M’s strongest garments are those produced for the Fall/Winter season. Though the company has established itself in a mind-boggling number of malls across the world, it has roots in the world of rugged sportswear. The brand’s name stands for “Hennes and Mauritz,” two established businesses that merged to form the label known across the world today. Hennes was a quickly-expanding, trendy womenswear brand, and Mauritz was anything but; the company produced clothing meant to be worn by hunters and fishermen.

 

H&M has tapped into its heritage in the past with success. In 2013, the brand released the Mauritz Archive collection, which featured fabrics and hues that brought the collection back to the outdoors, like muted, neutral wool, and waxed canvas. H&M Studio A/W 2016, though, just might have done a better job at channeling the history of the brand by seamlessly merging the two facets of H&M.

 

(GQ UK)

(GQ UK)

The collection balances fashion and practicality, trendiness and tradition, and attitude and sophistication. Navy and olive roll-neck sweaters call to mind turtlenecks, but the relaxed fit on the collar keeps them from looking too stuffy. Wool trousers are cuffed neatly above the ankle but pair with strapped, commando-soled boots to lend the outfit a rebellious vibe. Even a silhouette as dramatic as an ultra-extended bomber jacket keeps in mind the brand’s outdoor heritage, as the length makes the piece reminiscent of the long, warm, hunting jackets popular in northern Europe.

 

H&M has made a series of bold business decisions in the past few years, like opening more and bigger stores across the globe. The launch and continuation of the Studio line goes hand in hand with this expansion, reminding customers of the brand’s often-overlooked ability to straddle genres of fashion and its fifty-year history. Though the line is unlikely to overshadow the convenience and ease of wear that H&M mainline is known for, it looks like H&M Studio will be around for the foreseeable future as the company works towards reshaping its image.

 

What do you think of H&M Studio’s new collection? Let me know here or on Twitter @BillChangNY