Yesterday was an odd day. We’re currently in Bergen, and apart from being a delightful town, it offers some decent opportunities for shopping. I’ve previously written about the shops I consider good in Bergen, such as T-Michael, Lot 333, Twisted and Tilsammans. Today I visited the emporium I normally only trudge through, eyes down, when trailing WellDressedGirlfriend, or picking up socks and t-shirts for my sons. We’re talking H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, the huge Swedish purveyor of clothes I never usually consider buying.
To my eyes H&M is all about massive amounts of cheap fashion and cheeky copies of whatever is currently popular, or even the reproduction of the odd modern icon such as their “Cameraman” . As I discovered though, even H&M wasn’t always the emporium of cheap garments it is today, they have a past going back to 1968. As the story goes the founder of H&M bought the Stockholm menswear shop Mauritz Widforss in 1968 and combined it with his existing Hennes shop next door. The menswear store specialised in outdoor and hunting apparel, and for a short time the new Hennes & Mauritz shop sold the outdoor wear that was still in stock, and hence the outdoors look became H&M’s first men’s style.
I know my regular readers are at this point rolling their eyes and wondering what the heck is up, but bear with me just a little longer. What I discovered yesterday (oh, I’ll admit, I’m telling a lie, it was WellDressedGirlfriend that pointed it out to me), was a window full of “Mauritz Archive Collection 1968-2013″. Now, anyone into heritage inspired clothing can’t fail to feel the hook of “archive collection”, and I was compelled to take a look. It was either that or browse various social media on a poor mobile connection for 20 minutes, so it was hardly a taxing decision, right?
I’ll admit, I was pleasantly surprised. To be honest, more than surprised. The models in the window display actually looked good. Not universally good, as not every piece was really good, but sufficient to warrant going inside and having a closer look. For me, the following are the stand out pieces of the collection, and I’m serious about these being worth a look. Trust me on this.
The grey wool jacket (or blazer, if you like) is a fine jacket in 100% wool Yorkshire tweed woven by Abraham Moon & Sons Ltd. Nice detailing, with interesting pockets and half lined in chambray. If I hadn’t already got a lovely grey Harris Tweed Bakers jacket, I’d have gone for this. I still fancy it.
The grey wool trousers are again in 100% wool Yorkshire tweed, with five pockets, including a front ticket pocket and back pockets with flap and button. A button fly and contrast details on the legs. Oh, and buttons for braces are already fitted. A steal at the price.
The green wool cardigan is 100% Shetland Wool, really thick, with nice big buttons, proper pockets and a throat latch. Chunky knit and really warm. Good strengthening around the button holes and well made flaps on the pockets.
The green waxed jacket is pretty much what you’d expect from a green waxed jacket, in British Millerain fabric, with a thick orange cotton lining. Plenty of pockets and it seems well constructed. In these days of “made in Britain” focus, this may actually be as made in Britain as offerings from Barbour, but with more honesty of where it’s produced and a third of the price.
The orange wool over-shirt is merino lambs wool, again by Abraham Moon & Sons Ltd. Nicely made, in a tweedy orange material with both breast pockets and side pocket. A decent cut and good fit.
I’ve not mentioned any prices here, suffice to say that while they are a little higher than H&M usually charge, they are also a lot lower than items I normally mention. Oddly, the UK pricing is almost half of the Norwegian pricing, so UK buyers are really getting some stone-cold bargains.
For the rest of the Mauritz Archive Collection, have a look here. Available in only select H&M shops (only 2 in Norway, as I consider myself lucky to have stumbled upon one of them!) and online. I was obviously late to the party, as stocks are already quite depleted.
Addition: It looks like the Mauritz Archive Collection link has been taken down now, but the remaining items are still available within their categories, i.e. use links as follows:
Wool Blazer, Wool Trousers, Wool Cardigan, Checked shirt, Wool overshirt and so on… These links are for the UK website, each country appears to have a different online shop and stock. Don’t make me do all the work for you! Do notice though that there are a couple of useful discount codes for the online shop, 25% on the first item you buy if you sign up for their newsletter, and 10% for something else.