LONDON — Florals, leather, fringes and slits — this is magazine veteran Johan Svensson’s vision for the H&M-owned brand & Other Stories.
It was revealed last year that he would be taking on the role of head of brand identity and creation at the brand.
His debut fall 2023 campaign features British actress Nell Tiger Free and is accompanied by a special short film and campaign image. In the video, she wakes up in bed wearing a white shirt that turns into a strapless bodice as she hovers throughout her house and into an enchanted room filled with plants, a chandelier and water that she walks on.
When Svensson was asked about the scribbled logo last year, he said he had no intentions of touching it. In the fall video, a new custom sans serif typeface is revealed, but the brand’s name remains in its signature hand-drawn font.
This is what he set out to do when he joined & Other Stories — to editorialize it.
“It is a departure from previous campaigns in that it is more focused on telling a story, in this case about how you can change the world you live in through your power of imagination,” he told WWD.
He worked with photographer Venetia Scott on the still campaign images. They worked together at British Vogue when she was the fashion director of the title and he was creative director.
In the creative process, Svensson said he learned “how well suited my magazine experience was for this brand in particular, and how important the editorial point of view is in all communications today.”
“Storytelling is at the very core of what we do at & Other Stories — it is not an accident that it is in the name, and storytelling, in order to be truthful and compelling, absolutely needs to have an editorial angle to it,” he added.
The retailer & Other Stories launched in 2013 selling fashion, jewelry, accessories, lingerie, fragrance, makeup and skin care.
There are 76 physical & Other Stories stores in 25 markets and it is present online in 33 markets. In terms of store numbers, it is one of H&M group’s smaller brands, and its price points are on a par with other premium high street fashion retailers, such as Zara.
For Svensson, it has been a pleasant surprise to find that he can take his editorial expertise into the business of retail.
He said storytelling is not just central to the campaigns, but to the customer experience across all channels. He took the same approach to the clothes.
“It is almost as if the character was there, in the clothes, and we just tried to tell her story,” said Svensson.
The shift to design has been a seamless one for him, apart from adjusting to the lead times.
“Having been used to seeing results fairly quickly in magazines, here we can work on projects for a very long time, and then still wait even longer for the results to show,” he said, explaining that as frustrating as it might seem at times, it has given him the luxury of perfecting his projects.