New Retail: H&Ms new brand Arket Regent Street

Ian Thompson
January 26, 2018

Arket on Regent Street is an emporium of modern products promoting ethics and sustainability in retail

I like organising things - as an architect, it's ingrained in my psyche. I spend far too much time setting up systems and establishing order in my space. I'm somewhat OCD and I love it.

So when new brand Arket arrived on Regent Street I felt instantly at home. The store has been meticulously organised and is set out with science lab precision. It's a periodic table of products in an emporium of affordable fashion.

The grey walls and careful categorisation gives the interior an archival feel, like a laboratory or research institute. Each item of merchandise has a specific home in a layout of orderly shelving, each spot specifically designed for its resident. Arket has 'classified' their product range to make it easy for staff and customers to identify items. A '9-digit Arket ID' identifies products by gender, type, material and even recyclability. It's a system and creative approach that filters down across every visual element in the store.

Merchandise displayed on shelves at Arket, Regent Street

In Swedish, Arket means 'piece of paper'. A sort of blank slate as it were... starting again from scratch. It's a nod to minimalism and a reassessment of the retail experience. Arket has championed a return to simple, classic retail where the focus is very much on the experience. The entire interior of Arket Regent Street is a construct of medium grey with every wall a composition of storage. It's classic Scandinavian design at work here; a practical and functional interior that exudes elegance and warmth.

Arket Regent Street - A modern-day market for shoppers

Described by its owner H&M group as a ‘modern-day market for shoppers', Arket offers quality products at an affordable price-point. It's yet another brand from the H&M group occupying prime retail space on Regent Street, joined by COS, & Other Stories, Weekday and Monki on nearby Carnaby Street. Developed by the in-house H&M group design team and creative director Ulrika Bernhardtz, Arket Regent Street is the result of an intensive rethink on how retail is divided between the store experience and online.

ARKET’s mission is to democratise quality through widely accessible, well-made, durable products, designed to be used and loved for a long time.

Arket strives to make shoppers more aware; in amongst the merchandise are mini-exhibits that share critical information about products - where they come from, who made them, how they've reached the store. It's an integral part of the overall experience and sets the brand apart from other retailers. Advancing sustainable fashion is a priority for the H&M group and part of that ambition is realised by giving Arket shoppers the tools to make informed decisions. By reinforcing the message of sustainability Arket instils a greater sense of value in their product offering.

If the Arket experience leaves you unwilling to venture back out onto Regent Street, then head to the in-store vegetarian cafe. Offering a menu based on 'The New Nordic Food Manifesto' the cafe reinforces Arket's aim of integrating ethics, quality and sustainability throughout the store. It's a cultural and ethical foundation for the brand that is otherwise difficult to achieve in todays global consumer environment.

Arket Regent Street is now open. Visit more stores at Long Acre London, Copenhagen, Munich and Brussels. Stockholm opening soon.

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