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QUALITY AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE

Swedish clothing retailer H&M makes it way to the Thai market with two stores due to open here later this year

For years, Thai fashionistas have been forced to fly overseas to shop at Swedish fashion house Hennes & Mauritz AB or H&M as it is better known.

Soon, they'll need to go no further than downtown or the eastern suburbs, as H&M continues its expansion programme in Southeast Asia by opening its first Bangkok stores at Siam Paragon and The Mall Bang Kapi later this year. No dates have yet been set for the launch but both are expected to start receiving customers around September.

JS Gill, CEO of Hthai (Thailand) says H&M's arrival is keenly anticipated by Thai shoppers. "Bangkok is one of the key fashion capitals in Asia, so it's natural for H&M to have a big presence here. We are committed to providing our customers with fashion and quality at the best prices, and are proud to be chosen as H&M's franchise partner for Thailand," he says

Hennes & Mauritz started business as a single womenswear store in 1947 and has grown into a global company offering fashion for the whole family under the brands H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday and H&M Home. Although it remains essentially a high street chain, it also collaborates with such top guest designers as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Viktor and Rolf and Roberto Cavalli.

The fashion house recently opened a showroom at CentralWorld's office building and invited the media and VIP customers to preview the new autumn and winter collection.

But while customers in other parts of the world will be able to buy the designs from this year's guest collaborator Maison Martin Margiela, Ornnuma Chavalitumrong, marketing and public relations manager of Hthai, says the guest designer collection will not be available in Bangkok. She's confident though that Thais will love the cutting-edge outfits by H&M's in-house designers.

The concept for new collection is "minimalism meets maximalism for women, and tailoring takes over for men". The sculptural silhouettes are matched with bold shapes and confident decoration. Separates are key and include a cocoon coat with kimono sleeves in tweed and a double-breasted black tailored coat that's given a sporty '90's feeling when worn with a hoodie and hidden platform hi-top sneakers. Pants are crucial, from tailored slacks with a zippered ankle to leggings in vivid colour abstract nature prints. The ladies will love the elegant costume jewellery bracelets, pearl necklaces, and drop earrings. Jewelled shoulder pieces to help maximalise the sleekest of minimal outfits.

The suit becomes the most versatile piece in a man's wardrobe this autumn at H&M, as layering texture and colour brings tailoring traditions right to the 21st century. It's a sharp-suited 60's silhouette that dominates, with slim lapels and slightly cropped trousers, which look great in classic shades of black and grey, accented by accessories in wine and bottle green.


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