I have a confession to make, I’ve only just discovered how good ‘& Other Stories’ is…
I remember going into one of their shops a few years ago, not being particularly impressed; dismissing it as one of those brands that would hang around for a year or two then quietly disappear. But recently, &OS pieces have been popping on my Instagram timeline more often than Love Island memes and my curiosity was piqued.
So, who are they? Where have they come from, and are they any good? I did a bit Carole Cadwalladr style investigative research (she just googled a few articles, right?) and then visited one of their London branches to see what I’d been missing…
1. They’re part of the H&M family
& Other Stories was launched 5 years ago by the H&M group (who also own COS) originally as a mid-range cosmetics brand. The team behind it expanded into accessories and then fashion. They started off designing the clothes to go with the accessories although the clothes seem to be the main event these days. It’s definitely more upmarket than H&M, although it still has high street prices.
2. They’re like Zara but better
Zara has been my favourite high street brand for a while (nobody does patterned dresses under £50 like they do) but like Danny Dyer on Brexit, my allegiances may be shifting. For one, &OS stores are easier to navigate, they are spacious, and you can easily see everything they have on offer. Also, like a great album, they don’t have many fillers – most of their stuff is really good. They are also at a similar price point to Zara so while there may be room for both of them in my life, when I next visit Westfield Stratford and only have 30 minutes before my toddler kicks off, I know which store will be graced with my presence first.
3. They don’t follow trends, they follow styles
The name & Other Stories comes from the fact that they have 3 contributing arms (or ateliers) which provide different styles and feelings to their ranges. There’s one from Paris (quirky, eclectic, feminine & elegant), one from Stockholm (minimalist, tailored, innovative) and more recently LA (Americana, beach-chic, retro-athleisure). They all co-exist in the &OS stores allowing customers to mix, match and create their own styles, and thus, *cringe* “create their own stories”.
4. They know how to collaborate
They really do, and I’m so here for it. As well as having 3 global styles, they keep relevant by regularly collaborating with an eclectic selection of achingly cool brands (Rodarte, Vans and House of Hackney) and individuals (Kim Gordon, Lykke Li, Rachel Antonoff). I like it when fashion brands do this, it can offer something fresh and unexpected from your favourite high street brands, and it allows you to name drop some top-notch designers “It’s Balmain daahling, only 70 quid from Hennes”. But they don’t always get it right. I remember when H&M collaborated with Kenzo, it looked like it had been designed for colour blind ravers. Still bloody sold out though.
Kenzo X H&M
Kenzo X H&M NYC Event – Joe Jonas
5. I really like their stuff
They’re good. They’re really good. Wondering around their spacious and minimalist store in London’s King’s Boulevard (the poncy name given to the recently gentrified King’s Cross) I felt a bubbling sense of danger that my debit card would take a hit I could ill afford.
Their summer collection is full of luscious prints, stylish monochrome basics and chic one-off pieces that will last for more than a season. They do good footwear too, I “unintentionally” bought two pairs of shoes, one smart pair, one casual pair, both black, both 100% necessary. I also bought a moss green, v-cut swimming costume (they have an ace selection of bikinis and swimming cossies), a black super versatile buttoned vest top and a lush dirty pink velvet wrap dress which makes me feel like I’m a guest at Leonardo Dicaprio’s party in The Great Gatsby.
So yes, as you can tell I like them a lot, I may be preaching to the choir as I’m sure unlike me, a lot of you have already checked them out but if you haven’t, go have a look.
There’s a sale on a the mo which means you’ll practically be making money. And you know what they say, “what you buy on sale, doesn’t stay on sale for very long so you better buy it really quickly before it sells out”.
Who says that you ask? Me. To myself. Every time there’s a sale on.
My Top Picks
This Pink velvet wrap dress is on sale for £55, I can’t find it online any more but it’s definitely still in stores.
This shirt and skirt combo is an amazing ‘Club Tropicana’ style statement outfit. Shirt (on sale) for £60, and Skirt £59.
This sailor dress is really feminine and chic. £59
The print on this House of Hackney & Other Stories Tunic is stunning and is on sale for £49!
These two strap sandals look really elegant on the foot, are super comfortable and go with absolutely everything, £49.
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Ósk is a TV Producer who cut her teeth on shows such as Popworld and The Kate Moss Years back when tv channels still made fun pop culture shows. She’s a director’s wife, a mother of 3 and a London College of Fashion alumni. She is also originally from Iceland which means she is related to Björk and has Smoked Puffin for breakfast every single morning.