Just four months in, H&M’s new millennial-centric brand Nyden is shaking things up for its Swedish parent company with a campaign using Instagram polls and influencers to dictate design.
Nyden, which launched in April, is intended to appeal to younger shoppers with a model that bucks timely trends, focusing instead on driving buzz through collaborations with both prominent and up-and-coming artists. To Nyden, “artists” also encompasses influencers. For its latest campaign, Nyden enlisted the help of a handful of Instagram influencers — including Ashley Guyatt, founder of the blog Blonde Collective, and Alyssa Coscarelli, a senior editor at Refinery29 whose personal account @alyssainthecity has 141,000 followers — to help collect consumer preferences with the help of Instagram Stories.
In a series of posts shared over the past two weeks, the participating influencers used Instagram’s polling tool to gather intel on consumer preferences, such as fabric prints or zippers versus buttons. Created collaboratively by the influencers and the Nyden team, the posts helped collect data that will directly inform the style of two dresses in the retailer’s next collection. These pieces will be available on its website in the near future, said Nyden co-founder Christopher Skogfeldt.
“We want to show that the power of design lies in the hands of the people, not necessarily just designers sitting in their showroom in Paris,” Skogfeldt said. “We believe that inspiration and design is happening all the time, all around us. We want to empower people to show more of that and to create together by giving the power back through democratized fashion.”
Instagram Stories and polls shared by Nyden’s influencer partners
For H&M Group, which has been beleaguered by negative press as of late for rampant overproduction at its namesake fast-fashion brand and racially charged marketing gaffes, Nyden allows the company to experiment with new forms of retail and design strategy on a relatively small, low-risk scale. It mirrors efforts by other H&M brands like COS, which recently rolled out a collection made with 100 percent repurposed cotton in an effort to test new forms of sustainable manufacturing.
However, while Nyden shares production facilities with H&M, for the most part Skogfeldt said the brand operates autonomously and is uniquely positioned to help inform best practices across the company.
“We try to reinvent product development and everything around the company,” he said. “Hopefully, we can also inspire people at H&M to look at how a fashion brand can operate in a very humble way. They have been successful for 70 years. We try to look at things in a different way, and, of course, we can because we’re much smaller. Hopefully, we can learn insights that they can learn from.”
To continue to set itself apart from other retailers and assert its focus on democratizing fashion, Nyden’s website states that it is “not a traditional fashion brand,” but rather “a platform with a soul, co-creating with talented tastemakers and empowering their creativity.” These design partners, which the brand refers to as “co-creators,” include singer Dua Lipa, tattoo artist Dr Woo and stylist Farren Jean Andrea.
“We want to democratize fashion, and we don’t really follow fashion trends in the traditional way,” Skogfeldt said. “We’re all about co-creation. We believe people are inspired by people that they see in their community or in their groups. We want to be somewhere you can lean into for fashion advice, a new way of looking at fashion.”