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All About H&M x Rokh Collaboration: Launch Date & Lookbook Photos

— Courtesy of H&M

Designer Rok Hwang gets genuinely excited when he sees his clothes on the streets. Or being worn at the office. Or for a night on the town. Many of the items in the 58-piece collection he’s designed for H&M’s collaboration with his near-namesake label Rokh could adapt to all three, with a little ingenuity. It’s a collection decidedly meant to be worn—and not just for one season or a few Instagram pictures. “For this collaboration, I think the keyword is ‘Timeless,” Hwang said while previewing the collection in London in February. “For me, what is important is to create a garment that also lasts long and you can pull it out from your wardrobe even five years later and it will still be relevant.”

It’s that timelessness that makes the capsule feel so timely. Consumers, overwhelmed by the trend cycle, increasingly want clothes that adapt to their lifestyle and not the other way around. But just because the collaboration uses classic basics as its starting point, don’t call these clothes “quiet luxury” or “stealth wealth” necessarily. The offerings are full of playful almost surrealist features (a bag meant to look like a file folder, dress shoes on blocky platforms), the metal hardware details that define Rokh’s runway collections, and an invitation for the wearer to rearrange the garment as they please. Take one of the collection’s standout black dresses for example. Its tiered tail is attached to the body by hook and ball fasteners. “You can make it a bit more sensual and edgier by revealing your leg a little bit, or you can twist the pleats to make it a bit more avante-garde.” Jackets can be buttoned up the back. The silhouette of the trench coat can be rearranged at will. Hwang didn’t just pay attention to the details. Half the fun of the clothes can be found in those little twists.

— Courtesy of H&M

H&M’s choice of Rokh, an emerging label that only made its debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2019, may surprise some, but Hwang himself is no newcomer and is poised for wider acclaim. His 2009 Central Saint Martins graduate collection won him the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award and the Chloe Award, but more importantly, brought him to the attention of Phoebe Philo. He worked under Philo at Celiné for years, did a stint freelancing for Louis Vuitton and Chloé, and established his own line in 2016. Winning the LVMH Special Prize in 2018 allowed him to expand, and Rokh has steadily grown ever since. He introduced menswear for spring 2024, and his fall 2024, shown earlier this month in Paris, seemed to bring him wider acclaim from the influential peanut gallery that is fashion Twitter (“Ready to do unspeakable things for Rokh,” wrote one user).

“We entered this collaboration because we think that Rok is such a brilliant designer but also a unique designer. You instantly see that it’s a Rokh piece because he has such a clear aesthetic,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Advisor at H&M. “I think that combination of wardrobe essential with that punkish-ness and also a little bit of sensuality makes a really good recipe for something that feels fresh for the eye.”

— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M
— Courtesy of H&M

The collection has been in the works for over a year and a half now (H&M didn’t even know the label was planning to introduce its own menswear when they first reached out), and Hwang flew to H&M’s Swedish headquarters several times to work alongside the in-house team. Hwang says he learned how to better adapt his designs for larger production orders and global appeal, while Johansson says H&M’s team made sure to perfect the patterns and the hardware. Hwang wanted to distill the core values of his brand into the collection, and Johansson aimed to ensure that wish was honored. “It was super important that it didn’t become a less good version of Rokh. It has to be on the same level,” she says.

Hwang, who was born in South Korea, raised in Texas, attended school in London, and now shows in Paris, is excited to see his work rolled out to a larger consumer based on a global scale. He’s especially excited to see how buyers incorporate it into their existing wardrobes. In fact, when asked who he thinks is the ideal customer for the collection, he can’t quite answer.

“That’s actually a really hard question. We talked about it many times,” he says. “We designed it so it can be worn masculine or feminine. It could be for daytime, for work or sometimes for evening as well. Each piece is in some way customizable. So I think to answer the question, it is really, fundamentally for everyone.”

The collection will be available to everyone on April 18 when it hits select stores and HM.com.


Source: W Magazine

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