In case you haven’t heard, everyone who is anyone is all over Arket – the newest offering from high street titans H&M. It has the fashionati going wild. The first few days you couldn’t even get onto the website because of ‘high traffic’. But fashion loves a fad, and while I haven’t been into the store I’ve managed to negotiate my way onto the website. Everything has calmed down a little, as presumably the fashion folk have moved onto the next big thing (clue: it’s the J W Anderson collaboration with Uniqlo; or the Ashish collaboration with River Island; or maybe the Erdem x H&M collection that’s coming soon?).
No matter. What I wanted to know is Arket worth all the fuss? Well the collection is cool – pared down, Scandi…. Think of a Venn diagram with Uniqlo. Muji, a touch of Margaret Howell and the simpler end of Toast.
But wait. This will ring an alarm bell. Mr Mutton, who has just discovered that you can buy clothes on the inter-web, found out about Arket and thought it sounded right up his street. This is a man so uninterested in clothes he yearns for a uniform. (He’d have loved a Mao suit.) Arket is for people, like him, who don’t want to think too hard about what they’re wearing. Or those who don’t want their clothes to grab too much attention. This is not me.
I am very fond of the H&M sister offerings. Left to my own devices I would boomerang between & Other Stories and COS, as long as there was a Zara on the way. I can see what Monki is all about (though it’s a bit young for moi) and Weekday is pretty cool.
But this ultra minimalist look doesn’t work for me. I suppose there are some people who need very little adornment. Not me. I find plain, simple clothes make me look, well, both simple and plain.
Arket is great for good basics. You’ll get a lovely woolly, nice basic coats, all the wardrobe foundation stones delivered in a contemporary way.
However, if you have acquired all the basics over the years, like yours truly, then there isn’t much to set the pulse racing, There is, after all, a limit to how many pairs of black trousers anyone needs.
That said, I did manage to find a few things I really liked. Here’s what I would choose
This checked trouser suit (trousers £89, blazer £135)
This cotton top. £59
And plenty of underwear. There, I’m all up for stripped down and plain. Arket has reasonably priced, nicely shaped cotton pants. An oasis in a world of polyester lace.
But Arket is also more than just a fashion brand, it is a lifestyle brand. This means that as well as selling polo necks and peacoats and leather boots, it has diversified. Into spoons.
Interested to hear what you all think.