H&M experiments with high fashion

Like us trying to figure out what to wear to the company holiday party, H&M is having a bit of a fashion identity crisis.

Driving the news: With their budget garments undercut by China-based fast-fashion sellers like Shein and Temu, H&M is making a push into the higher-end retail tier with new collections of pricier apparel, per Reuters.

  • The Swedish retailer has launched new lux lines in collaboration with high-fashion designers, with some items priced as high as US$749.

  • The shift comes as one of H&M’s main competitors, Shein, has rapidly gobbled up 18% of the global fast fashion market.

Why it matters: The pivot by H&M—arguably the most prominent Western low-cost fashion brand—to pricier products is a sign of how successful ultra-affordable Chinese sellers have been in penetrating European and North American markets.

  • Other mass-market fashion chains like Zara have protected their market share by navigating a middle path somewhere between the Louis Vuittons and Sheins of the world.

Bottom line: Analysts say it’s a big risk for H&M, which has previously hesitated to raise prices out of fear that its price-conscious customers would jump ship.—LA