You know what? I got the phone call asking if I would like to go to Stockholm courtesy of H&M like, five weeks ago. I actually left for Stockholm two weeks ago. Two whole weeks. You would think being all internet and a blogger and what-not that I would’ve posted something about it on here by now but hey, do you know what? I’m technologically disabled. I’m typing on a Macbook Air that belongs to my dad. The thing doesn’t directly accept the SD card from my camera and I can’t find the USB cord so I’m basically doing this wireless transfer of images from my camera to my phone, and then email the images to myself, then downloading the bloody images to the computer and uploading them to this blog post. That’s the level of admin we’re dealing with right now, on this Friday night.
So yeah, I’ve been sitting here for ages doing that so now I’m tired and I’ve decided instead of telling the story of my trip to Sweden in actual real life words, I’m going to do it in pictures, with captions. Kind of like postcards or something. Some might call that a cop-out, but hey, it’s my blog, it’s my life, I do what I want.
That’s how it started. I got a phone call, “H&M are flying some New Zealand media and bloggers to Stockholm to visit their head office and learn about the company and you’re invited, do you want to come?” I said “yes, of course! I’ve never been to Sweden before, that sounds dope! Lock it in!” and then I asked my boss for the week off in such a way that he would feel terrible if he said no, and two weeks later I boarded a plane to Hong Kong, then transferred onto another plane to Frankfurt, and then transferred onto another plane to Stockholm, and that is where this picture story starts:
After 30 hours of travelling, my two travel companions (Sammy from Mindfood magazine and Dan from The New Zealand Herald’s Viva – the others were on various other flights) touched down and hopped in our taxi and the above is a really cliché photo of the view from the back of the cab on the way to the hotel.
This is me in the hotel. The hotel we were at was the Nobis and it was a really amazing old building, I think I heard it used to be a bank. If you follow my snap story you will know that I checked in and straight away did an NTC workout in my hotel room because I am THAT GOOD. On a separate note, I don’t know if it’s all Swedish beds or just this hotel, and if you follow me on snapchat you will have already heard about this, but they put two single duvets side by side, on a double bed. Like, with the long edges rolled under. It’s very strange. Someone told me it’s so that you don’t have to share a cover with the person you’re sleeping with. It sounds logical but I am yet to confirm whether that is the real reason or not.
This is the internal atrium thing inside the Nobis.
Before I left for Stockholm I did this extreme amount of research on jetlag and how to combat it. The thing is, I knew I was flying in on a Monday and flying out on a Friday and I had a few presentations to be alert for so I did everything I could to avoid jetlag (hence the workout in the room). One of the things that I read was to spend a tonne of time outside in the sun, in daylight, so we went for a walk and I passed this sign and I took a photo of it because #tourist.
Dan wanted to try a traditional Swedish meal so we went to Prinsen, a place near the hotel that was recommended to us and apparently has some of the best Swedish meatballs in Stockholm.
Sammy had the meatballs.
I had pork belly. Classic me.
Oh, okay so the first thing I noticed walking around Stockholm, is that everyone there is dressed well, or at least dressed up, and everyone is tall, and blonde, and beautiful. EVERYONE.
Our first actual thing we had on our itinerary with H&M was a dinner with the other NZ media and H&M PR from Stockholm, Australia and the new H&M New Zealand PR girl who is going to be looking after everything once the store opens. We went on a boat. I put an instagram up of this picture with a caption saying ‘I just wanna own my own boat’ from that really popular Vine but no one got it. Sad.
This is a popular Swedish dish that I forgotten the name of. It’s Toast Skagan or something. Anyway it’s basically toast with cold shrimp and mayonnaise/aioli. It was quite good apart from it had caviar on it which freaks me out, I don’t like the crunch, you know? I picked off because I’m that dick who can’t try new things.
This photo was taken at approximately 9.40pm. That’s how late the sun sets there at this time of year. Insane.
This photo was taken at 10pm which is just crazy to me. I mean, I had heard about the long days but experiencing it was a whole other thing. I woke up at 4:37am and I looked outside and it was full blue skies. It was mental.
The next morning we had an early hotel breakfast and walked straight to the H&M Headquarters to have a look and listen to some presentations about the company and their sustainability policies and their design processes. This is probably a weird thing to say but I thought it was kind of cool – all the H&M employees have a login to I guess, their intranet? Anyway, the login allows them access to the wifi and once you have a login, somehow at any H&M store or office in the world, you automatically connect to their wifi. TECHNOLOGY AY?
Oi classic shoe photo.
Another thing, I learnt that you can take your old clothes (any brand, they don’t have to be H&M and they can be in any condition) to and H&M store and they will either resell them (with the money going to some sustainability thing that I can’t remember, sorry, I’m just being honest) or they will upcycle them into new garments or downcycle them into car tyre filler or whatever. Everything gets reused. Pretty cool huh?
Me inside the ‘White’ room which is a creative hub for the designers at H&M.
Fabrics in the sampling department.
The colour room.
This photo was taken in the vintage library that H&M has. I know so many people who would lose their shit in there. Amazing stuff.
I have fast forwarded to dinner. This was my favourite meal from the trip and it was in this cool restaurant at the top floor of Fotografiska, a photography museum. The above was some kind of potato thing with aioli and it was supposed to have caviar but hey, I’m fussy so I got it with tapioca instead. Also, every meal comes with bread, I love it. Also, note the tumblr ass linen napkin.
This is a random photo of Jamie that I took, I don’t have any explanation for this.
Okay this may seem weird but it was the best. It was an onion shell, filled with a mushroom truffle emulsion thing (specific, I know). I had it with beef which isn’t pictured but it was really, really delicious.
This is a creepy photo I took of a couple at the restaurant.
That is Dan, Karlya and Sammy. I’m pretty sure they were like ‘don’t post that photo’ but it’s too late now. I took it on our walk to meet with a lady who works in the HR team at H&M. She talked to us about H&M’s brand values and their recruitment processes and then gave us a tour of their flagship store. I didn’t take any photos in the store but it was massive, trust me. If you saw my snapchat (look, by now you should have figured out that if you want to know anything about what I’m doing, it’s on bloody snapchat) you would’ve seen the stockroom which was HUGE. The scale on which this brand operates is insane. Like nothing I have seen before.
That is a photo of Dan leaning on a cool lamp post we found on our walk to lunch.
This is me doing the ‘it’s cold’ pose because it really was cold that day, despite the sunlight.
Here’s Jaime, who looks good in every photo.
This is the ceiling inside of Operabaren which is where we had lunch.
I had the Swedish meatballs.
This is Dan standing in the nice light on the way to dinner. That night we had dinner (yes, we had a lot of meals) at this place called Pubulogi which is this tiny, dark restaurant with one giant shared table that serves a changing set menu every night. It’s one of those places that is kind of experimental – our dessert had fermented rhubarb and ginger in it, for example. We had three ways of duck – heart, liver, breast, etc. I wish I had taken a photo but it was really dark in there so I couldn’t and again, you should’ve just looked at my snapchat.
The next day we went to the H&M photo studio where they organise and produce and shoot all the e-comm and catalogue stuff. It was pretty cool, I really wanted to take a photo in there but I was explicitly told I was not allowed, so yeah. What I can tell you is that they run a minimum of 2 studios a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, and that’s just for lookbook type imagery of clothes on models. Every single garment is also photographed at least twice (front and back, for example) as a flatlay or on a mannequin, for product imagery.
We had lunch at an art gallery and I don’t have any pictures from there except for the one above of the view, and one of Dan leaning against a tree which is probably not really relevant, and then we went to the Acne Archive store which is basically an Acne outlet store with sale stock and old samples and show pieces. I wasn’t allowed to take photos there so basically you can just picture this whole day in your head and we can move on to when I went into the flagship Acne store (which was right next door to the hotel):
No joke, I spent an hour in there. A whole hour. I was one of those freaks trying on everything. It’s kind of weird I did that seeing as there’s an Acne store in Sydney but hey, I was there and it’s actually cheaper to buy the stuff in Stockholm with the exchange rate and all.
FYI: I got the skirt.
It was our last night and we had dinner at this place that we walked to through ‘the old town’.
Dan had oysters. I didn’t photograph the rest, I had steak. You would’ve seen it on snapchat.
After that, Sammy and some of the others were keen to go out, it being the last night and all. I’m old and boring so I was being kind of a downer but hey, I did go for a bit. Anyway we ended up at this crazy Euro club that was 70% dudes and played loud electronica dance versions of hip hop songs mixed with just straight up dance pop songs, and for some reason we met some guy from New York, he said his name was Charlie and he had a fashion brand and he was wearing a white blazer and I wasn’t really drinking so I was all, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, of course you have a fashion brand mate’ and then a week ago we found out that this Charlie guy is actually on the Forbes list of like top 40 entrepreneurs under 40 or something. Crazy huh.
The next day we mooched around, some people were hungover (NOT ME) and I don’t know how to end this other than to say we got on a plane and went home and on the stopover at Hong Kong airport I had Popeyes.
PS: Thanks to H&M for bringing me along! I actually feel like I know everything about the whole company now so if anyone has any questions about them, I probably know the answers.
PPS: I have no idea why but I was told I had no obligation to post about this trip, but I thought some of you might like to see.
PPPS: I am going to publish this without proofreading it, pray for me.