H&M Debuts The Metaverse As A Fashion Concept

H&M is the latest retailer to blend virtual and real-life fashion, introducing a new metaverse-inspired collection in two of its New York stores.

It first showed the line, called the H&M Innovation Metaverse Design Story, in the U.S. this week at its store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and says it will move it to its Times Square store, as well as online, in the days ahead.

The brightly colored items are meant to suggest its cyber inspiration, but the collection also bends expectations with the brand's commitment to sustainability.

Drawing inspiration from flowers, water droplets and butterflies, several pieces are made entirely from recycled polyester fibers collected in partnership H&M stores. Some are made using a zero-waste cutting process. And after years of development, H&M has finally cracked the code on sustainable sequins, with pieces in the collection sporting sequins made from recycled plastic bottles. Faux fur, also from plastic, also makes an appearance.

"We wanted to present our customers with an explosive collection that captured the excitement we all feel at the dawning of the metaverse, but also the fascination we have with the natural world," said Ella Soccorsi, concept designer at H&M, in a blog post introducing the collection. "The resulting collection is extraordinarily tactile, with hand-beaded and intricately constructed garments. But it also explores the endless possibilities of the digital sphere and H&M's circular mindset." 

The clothes made their first appearance earlier this month in London at the 2022 Fashion Awards, with models and actors showing off the looks on the red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall.

H&M also made five augmented-reality filters available to introduce the collection online through its app. Powered by Snapchat and designed in partnership with the Institute of Digital Fashion, it lets users try on the clothes.

The collection includes women's and men's apparel, jewelry, and accessories.

Separately, the Swedish retailer announced that net sales for the fourth quarter rose 10%. In local currencies, they were unchanged from the same period a year ago.

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