Sunday, July 26, 2009

The best deal

Inside a H&M skirt.

Many years ago I read an interview with a Swedish veteran businessman from the retail sector. I no longer recall his name, but I do remember the advice that he gave: "The best deal on the market is the higher end ranges from Ikea and H&M, which is something most people don't realise ". At the time I thought that it was a very novel advice. While most Swedes spend a large chunk of money at these places, it's a love/hate thing and we routinely (and not without cause) dis them for the mass produced personality and the lack of quality.

But I have also followed the businessman's advice to some degree and I have to say he was absolutely right. The attention to detail and quality combined with large volume sourcing and other cost effective methods make this a very winning concept. While there are of course a lot to be said about the big retail companies and how they manage to keep their prizes down, it ain't all evil in my opinion. They provide work opportunities in many countries and both Ikea and H&M have tried to clean up their act when it comes to their code of conduct and to give the foreign workers better conditions. And many high end designers also produce some of their lines in those factories, but no one seems to question them. Although that said, it's still a long way to go for both H&M and others. And I do wish people was prepared to pay a bit more for what they wear. At least those who can afford it.

The zipper and lining up close.

Which brings me to this H&M skirt that I snatched on a sale the other week. It's from one of their higher end ranges and the workmanship is very impressive. Just take a look at this zipper treatment. I have no idea how they made it so clean, but if someone has a clue please drop me a line. There are clearly no hand sewing going on, just clever engineering. Another nice detail is the binding on the facing - overall the skirt looks like it cost three times more than it originally retailed for. So that would be my consumer tip for the day. Not all cats are grey, and sometimes the best deals can be found in the most unlikely of places.


  1. That really IS a great zipper finish. I'm not familiar with H&M, but I'll take a look online.

    You might want to check out Kathleen Fasanella's site for her centered zipper instructions. You could also write to her and ask about the finish. That's what I'd do if I were you....

  2. It is quite an impressive zipper installation there. I love H&M but there aren't any near me (we just got our first Zara in Austin this year and we're still running on fumes from that high. Haha). I seek them out when I'm travelling, but there are never guarantees.

    I will say that Target has their Go International designer collabs, and just about every other collection is finished really well. Don't know if they hold a candle to this H&M beauty you've posted, but the quality is still better than what you'd expect from the standard Mossimo or Merona lines at Target.