For anyone whose been living under a rock for the last couple of months, & Other Stories is the big new brand launch from the H&M portfolio, we mentioned it here. Now the opening excitement has passed and we’ve had a good chance to potter about the store and try on the clothes, we can say we’re pretty impressed. Not surprisingly (since H&M own both) there’s a bit of a COS feel to some of the shapes and fabrics but & Other Stories is a bigger proposition, aimed at the 20-30 year old consumer who has contemporary-cool taste. There’s a very strong accessory collection and I warn anyone with a bit of a shoe passion that they should go carefully into the footwear department, as it is extremely tempting indeed.
It’s also fun to shop as it’s set out a bit like the back-stage at a catwalk show or design studio; slightly haphazard rails are set next to accessory tables laden with matching shoes, bags and hair accessories interspersed with casually-styled images and Twitter-style comment pinned randomly onto back walls and running rails. This is more about ‘discovery browsing’ than category shopping and it feels more like shopping a Pinterest board or Tumblr than a store.
There’s only one store in the UK currently, on Regent Street but it’s online, so for those of you keen to buy, we’ve picked out five styles you might like.
First off, anyone with long hair will love the contemporary and elegant hair accessories, above. It’s very hard to find any good hair clips that aren’t festooned in luridly coloured butterflies or blingy-crystals this season, so I snapped up the simple gold ball hair pins (£4) and smart bottle green enamel slides (£5), there are lots more like this in the website.
I fell in love with this simple but nicely made soft cotton shirt at £39 in either geranium pink or soft ivory white (not optic-more creamy than it appears in the image above). It also comes in blue but I didn’t see it in store. It has a casual, easy-to-wear simpleness that would fit right in to most wardrobes and I like the minimalist covered placket front. The pink is joyous, but the white would also be very useful.
This wedged espadrille in black suede got my heart pounding, Espadrilles are having a minor fashion moment, although for me they’ve always been the perfect summer shoe, add on a rope wedge, make it comfy (I tried it on) and price it at £45 and it’s a winner. it also comes in dusty blue and mint.
The bags, purses, wallets and phone/tablet cases are all good and hold up well to quality inspection. It was hard to pick one bag as they’re are many covetable ones, but we know a thing or two about satchels and this one’s a good one at £95. Made from soft but strong leather with a few neat details to make the design stand out, such as a grab handle and a long over-the-shoulder strap, if I didn’t already have one (ok, more than one) I would have bought this.
Finally make up brushes; all the make up was terrific, but the brushes really grabbed my attention because they look great quality at a good price. And I liked the way the bleached-top hairs on the shimmer powder brush, above right, meant you could see what colour you have used last…pick the right size for your needs here
& Other Stories website here, does it appeal?