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You’re invited to the metaverse! How H&M Group uses tech innovation for endless fashion opportunities

From fashion inspired by tech to virtual events and live stream shopping experiences — at H&M Group we are present where our customers are, or where they wish to be. For example, did you know you can try on the latest H&M Innovation Metaverse Design Story collection without leaving your living room?

Three images of metaverse digital garments

The H&M Innovation Metaverse Design Story collection (pictured above and below) launched with a big bang on 8 December 2022. Inspired by tech and the metaverse, the collection includes both physical garments and virtual pieces to wear digitally. H&M Innovation Stories was launched in early 2021 and comprises a series of themed collections dedicated to promoting more sustainable materials, technologies and production processes.

This season’s H&M Innovation Stories takes on the metaverse with a collection that’s ready for IRL parties and digital dancefloors. Featuring a selection of pieces as spectacular 3D filters and available to rent in select stores.

Headshot photo of Ann-Sofie Johansson wearing a black suit with a pink bookshelf in the background

Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor, H&M

The virtual dimension offers more sustainable and inclusive fashion

The metaverse offers a new way to look at personal style and the potential of ever-evolving, limitless wardrobes. The H&M design team was inspired by the intersection between reality and the digital world while encouraging new ways of thinking about circularity, sustainability and the future of fashion. Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor at H&M, explains:

“The increasingly virtual dimension of fashion creates exciting future opportunities for H&M, allowing us to create vibrant, bold and daring virtual counterparts to our physical collections. In addition to the endless creative possibilities, it also allows us to propose a more sustainable and inclusive fashion vision that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world”.

Try on a digital garment and style your virtual wardrobe

The H&M Innovation Metaverse Design Story collection explores three scenarios in the future of fashion: ready-to-wear (including womenswear, menswear and accessories), digital and rental. Virtual try-on using 3D filters in the H&M app, or on Snapchat, make the metaverse inspired garments available to wear digitally. In the H&M app, members can download their image, or video, of themselves wearing the digital garments and post it to social media.

Five digital garments were created for the collection with three available for virtual try-on as filters on Snapchat and in the H&M app. The filters offer customers another fun and creative way to enjoy fashion, express their personal style and share their metaverse looks with their friends on social media. Brooke DeWitt, Product Strategy and Marketing Manager at Snap Inc, said:

“The innovative AR (augmented reality, editor’s note) garments co-created by the IoDF (Institute of Digital Fashion, editor’s note) and H&M represent an incredibly immersive and accessible way to engage and delight the H&M community in the world of digital fashion”.

From H&M showrooms to concerts — all in the metaverse

The collection offers wearable high fashion both on and offline, but the possibilities for experiencing virtual fashion don’t stop there.

Building on pioneering technology used to develop our first-ever virtual showroom, H&M Philippines hosted H&M Celestial Spaces, a virtual concert with P-pop (P stands for the Philippines) group BGYO. The group performed a futuristic concert, dressed in H&M and fans were also able to get to know the boy band members through live chats between performances. Concertgoers from 61 countries attended the event and BGYO merch sold out in less than 15 minutes. The H&M Celestial Spaces concert became a trending topic on Twitter and generated more than 152,000 mentions across social media platforms.

The concept of a virtual concert hosted with avatars and in the metaverse came out of focus group conversations with hundreds of Gen-Z participants who explored the virtual showroom and provided insights into what interests them most.

H&M Celestial Spaces with with P-pop group, BGYO, was H&M Philippines’ first-ever concert in the metaverse.

Styling inspiration through social media

Another way H&M Group meets customers where they are — or, in spaces like the metaverse, where they would like to be — is through social media platforms and live stream shopping.

In recent years, platforms such as Youtube, Instagram and TikTok have added shopping capabilities and features. Now, customers can discover and find inspiration on social media, then shop items directly from images and video in their feed. On Instagram followers can even receive notifications when new collections are released.

H&M Beauty (left) has arranged several live stream shopping events, such as this one pictured with fashion influencer Julia Dang in October 2022. All of the H&M Group brands use Instagram’s e-commerce capabilities to improve the customer experience, including ARKET (center) and H&M HOME (right).

Live stream shopping – guiding the customer

Live stream shopping is an additional tech feature H&M Group brands are using to connect with customers. Monki was the first brand to explore live shopping in 2019. Since then, & Other Stories, COS, Weekday and H&M have joined in on different occasions.

How does it work? For H&M, the stream can be viewed via the H&M app and on hm.com. Other H&M Group brands have used their websites, YouTube, and other social media platforms (such as Facebook) to host live shopping events. The experience is interactive — allowing viewers to ask questions and get more information about a garment’s fit, sizing, styling and more. Customers can shop directly from what they are seeing immediately on the stream.

COS (left) streamed their New York Fashion Week AW22 show on TikTok to an audience around the world of more than 1.1 million views. & Other Stories (center) and H&M (right) have also hosted live stream shopping and styling events to share new collections. At the H&M event Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor, H&M, guided viewers together with fashion influencer, Thérèse Hellström.

Live shopping sessions makes fashion, creativity and styling accessible to customers around the world and offers an opportunity to co-create with other customers, stylists, and designers.

At H&M Group we are harnessing the power of smart technology. Everything we do with digital is designed to help us get in the hearts and minds of our customers. We integrate data into all we do, to get closer to our customers and maintain our position as a leading fashion, design and services company.

Note: The above features and initiatives vary from region and between the different H&M Group brands.