- How would you describe your approach toward active wear or sportswear and the philosophy of the H&M brand?
At H&M we work strongly around our business idea is: Fashion and Quality at the Best price in a Sustainable way. This goes for everything we do including our Sportswear offer. This means that when we develop the Sportswear collection we constantly keep these aspects in the back of our heads. Fashion in the sense that we aim to make garments that inspire our customers to get active and make them both look and feel good while doing so. Quality in the sense that we always work hard with fabrics, cut and details to deliver functional products that really work for the purpose they are designed for, be it running when it´s cold or training at the local gym. Price in the sense that we always aim for having really good prices, looking good while exercising shouldn´t be out of reach for anyone. Last but not least Sustainability where at the moment all our basic training tee´s and tank tops are made of recycled polyester.
- Do you think performance is important in active wear?
Performance is a very important aspect in active wear. When you exercise you of course want your outfit to work with you and not against you. Having the right cut and details are essential but the material in itself and how it handles heat and moisture is probably the most important aspect. Depending on the purpose of the garment we work with both “wicking” type materials that transport the moisture/sweat away from the body and/or water repellent fabrics when it comes to outdoor use. When it´s cold outside you also need some kind of insulating properties and details like hood and pocket construction become really important. In essence, the performance of the garment depending on its intended use is at the very core of the design process and something that we take very seriously.
- What are your thought on active wear fulfilling multiple purposes – from gym to street wear? And how do you think the H&M active wear meets that challenge?
Some activities need more specialized type of garments then others. Running for example need to be both light and weatherproof to do the job. In other cases you can have a more versatile approach to the design process. We see at the moment a raising interest from our customers in active wear that bridges the gap between gym/training and a more casual/street wear type of style. However we still believe that this “Athleisure” style still needs to be very functional when it comes to cut and detail. This is a part of the collection we see is very important on-wards are developing in many interesting directions.
- What goes into the design process of the H&M sport collections?
The design process always start with a very thorough research in to the market and what our customers are looking for. Meeting and exceeding his expectations is what we always are striving for. After the research, designs are draughted, and colors and materials are chosen. After this we go into the process when we bring forward samples/prototypes in order to try them on and see that they really work. All this is a very collaborative process between designers, pattern cutters and buyers, teamwork is an essential part in everything we do.
- Do you think it’s important to keep up with trends?
Yes, we think it´s very important to keep up with trends. But in doing so keeping the same phase as our customer. If we want to meet and exceed his expectations we need to be right on the trend. So working with trends and discussing in our teams how they relate to our customer is both a very important and fun part of the job.
- What should we look for in a great piece of active wear?
We believe a great piece of active wear should first and foremost be comfortable and fit you well. It should also do the job when it comes to performance depending on the activity you are about to do. And last but not least it should make you look and feel great.
This shoot was an incredible one – not only did Lishe feature a talented African Ballerina Kemelo Sehlapelo (catch our interview with her soon) – we also had a blessed opportunity to work with famed photographer Extraordinaire Nhlakanipho “Hippo” Nhlapo (see bio below)
Nhlakanipho “Hippo” Nhlapo
He has done numerous on location/event photography from album launches for well known South African artists such as Mo-Flava from YFM and DJ Shimza from Solistic Records.He is well versed designer especially graphically and in creating websites.
His multifaceted talent have had him venture into radio broadcasting for a online radio station called Rhythm 100. Nhlakanipho is an ambitious self taught photographer that is always ready and willing to learn and better himself.