Back in December last year, the finalists of the inaugural H&M Design Award, selected from the best fashion schools of Europe, gathered up in London and I alongside a starry starry jury, which included Hilary Alexander, Christopher Kane and H&M's creative advisor Margareta Van Den Bosch had to decide who should win a EUR50,000 prize and have their collection produced by H&M to go on sale.  The finalists were definitely varied but the decision was unanimous over who would be the winner.   Stine Riis, originally from Denmark but a graduate of London College of Fashion, won the award and presented her collection at a show during Stockholm Fashion Week back in February and now core parts of her collection have been adapted for release as a mini collaboration out in H&M stores on 17th September.  

It's likely to be overshadowed by H&M's more flashy collabs with Anna Dello Russo and Maison Martin Margiela coming up but it does represent a talent nurturing side to H&M that hasn't previously been spotlighted.  Topshop has its New Gen scheme in collaboration with the British Fashion Council.  J. Crew sponsors CFDA's Vogue Fashion Fund.  Mango doles out EUR300,000 to one young designer every year.  It makes sense that H&M should also get in on the act of aiding and supporting young designer talent.  Their specific take on it is that they went around key European countries where fashion school output is often cerebral and interesting – Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK – to mine BA graduates from the schools.  This is much more of a grassroots operation than what the other high street do with young designers as these are people who are specifially BA graduates, where upon graduation, the main objective isn't necessarily that the designer should set up their own label.  

Still, having product to sell through a platform like H&M is a proud moment for any young graduate and Stine Riis may well be on her way to establishing her brand.  Riis' graduate collection of graphic lines and rich tones was already well on its way to being the finished product, ready to sell, ready to be commercialised.  Now the fruits of the collaboration will be available to us at prices ranging from ¬£15 for a roll-neck top to ¬£100 for a coat and fortunately most of the pieces retain an essence of Riis' original collection.  Congratulations also to Anne Bosman (it's a dude, not a girl… yeah, that was confusing…), another finalist who impressed the public with his playful menswear collection and won the People's Prize, consisting of an internship at Christopher Kane.  

The closing date for the next edition of the H&M Design Award has just lapsed but it will be interesting to see how the competition pans out for the future finalists, winners and of course, what consumers get at the receiving end of this competition.  



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Comments (26)

  1. what an amazing collection! Stine is very talented!

  2. Elisa says:

    The two-toned sweater is very nice. It’s great of H&M to highlight young talents. Definitely reinforces their cool-company credentials.
    Wandering Minds fashion

  3. alicia says:

    LOVE this. This blows all of their latest design collabs out of the water.

  4. Ibukun says:

    Amazing collection. I love the skirt

  5. great…love the color combination…

  6. Tian says:

    Stunning! I love te skirts and coats.

  7. Tara says:

    Stine’s collection is utterly unique and wonderfully fashion-forward. Yet it manages to retain such lovely, classic silhouettes and details. I particularly love the blue cropped blouse with matching A-line skirt in the 5th picture.
    Thank you, Susie, for bringing H&M’S emerging designers’ initiative to my knowledge!
    Best Wishes,

  8. diane says:

    Equestrian meets Galaxy Quest, I like it.

  9. Lise says:

    its amazing!!! I just saw her new spring collection ad copgenhagen fashion week, it was really nice tjek it out ad

  10. Aela says:

    Amazing collection! Those designs are out of this world and frankly is taking H&M into a whole new level of fasione! Love it! Those 2 toned sweaters and frilly coats are to die for. Wonder if the designs will be released globally?

  11. D says:

    Yup, signed up. Beautiful world…I’ll keep you posted if I come up with anything.
    Friend link:

  12. fazane says:

    lovely collection!! limited edition womenswear with a twist

  13. ttea says:

    It’s so weird, but I only just discovered H&M, not because I didn’t know it existed of course, but I think I just had preconceived notions and prejudices against it. Anyway, I’ve noticed that all of the winners of these contest seem to have a similar style. The style seems to be a more futuristic colour palette with very clean cut designs. There very rarely seems to be more classic designs on show. I feel like the whole futuristic thing has been done too many times now, I feel like I’ve seen it all before.
    I do like quite a few pieces from this collection however. The very last green and blue skirt I find very interesting, as well as the green blue and white skirt and top combo. Great post.

  14. Eleanor says:

    It’s a stunning collection and the pieces are modern & have a touch of high fashion ready-to-wear. I am sure Stine Riis is a talented up & coming fashion designer.

  15. Hey very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

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