At a global rank of 21 "Hennes & Mauritz" or fashionably known as H&M was created in 1947 in Vasteras, Sweden by Erling Persson. On its inception it only merchandised for women clothing, and was known by the name "Hennes" which means "her" in Swedish language. Later the store expanded to venture out into menswear.
In 2004, the brand teamed up with Karl Lagerfeld, designer for Chanel, to create a high-end fashion line that produced an affordable collection for the younger customers of H&M. The idea was a hit and from then on the brand has successfully teamed up with fashion elite such as: Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf, Madonna, Roberto Cavalli, Jimmy Choo, Sonia Rykiel, and Lanvin.
H&M creates a legacy of trendy designer, hot off-the-runway fashion apparels that are majorly affordable. You can shop endlessly for classy and sophisticated work ensemble, as well as chic and sexy party attire along with high-fashion everyday outfits. The brand has a global presence of over 2,000 stores in about 38 different countries making it a tough giant to compete with, but there are other chic smart fast-fashion stores that are grabbing enough eyeballs from shoppers world-wide. These stores have proven to impart a similar shopping experience like H&M, let's take a look at them.
Soon after becoming a royal, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, created a fashion storm by wearing a £49.99 cornflower blue, pleated polyester "Zara" dress. Always careful about her impeccable fashion style, the dress was sure a high-street fashion statement to the world waiting to catch a glimpse of the new bride. The retail journey of Zara started out as "Zorba" in 1975 by Amancio Ortega in Spain. From then on, it has achieved the feat of spreading across 88 countries with over 2,000 stores. Working on the principal of "fast fashion," the brand can produce new designs in a matter of two weeks based on the customer trends with exceptionally talented designers.
One can shop at an affordable price range - a variety of men's, women's, and kids ready-to-wear clothing along with matching accessories. Find everything stylish from suits, maxi dresses, formal, long sleeve, cocktail, skater dresses, LBD's, tailored jacquard jumpers with edgy zippers, structured party dresses, and from nude strap heels to leather high shoes with discounts and offers. If you wish to shop for subtle drama then do stop by this store!
Shop online: ZARA
Spanish beauty and actress Penélope Cruz recently projected a unique 25-piece collection including accessories for the brand's fall-winter collection foraying for the first time into fashion designing. The brand has long been associated with a number of celebrities who regularly feature in its promotions. Mango is the brainchild of two Turkish brothers Isak and Nahman Andic who established their first Mango store in Barcelona's Paseo de Gracia in 1984. The brand has from then on expanded over to 81 countries with 850 stores.
The Spanish high-street retailer features clothing made of exclusive materials like silk, cashmere, and virgin wools, in which embroidery plays an enigmatic role. For men, there are a wide range of suits, jackets, trousers, jeans, polo shirts, and trendy accessories. There is an exclusive spring collection available featuring flared jeans, flowy Culottes, high-waist trousers, jumpsuits, and suede tops. Also checkout the hello summer collection for the breezy tops and dresses, the lovely prices section offers a range of discounts on endearing stylish pieces.
Shop online: MANGO
Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane founded Boohoo in 2006. This chic brand is a favorite of the urban crowd. It channels around 9,000 styles and dresses comprise over 30% of the product range. The main range dresses come at a price tag between £12 and £25, while Style Steals range for as little as £3. A section "celeb-style dresses" features all the latest trends from the celebrity world and if you are a die-hard fan of the Kardashian's, pop artists, and other famous icons you can now steal their look with just a click of a button.
They also boast of heavy discounts on both men's and women's sections, clearance sales, delivery options, including Sunday delivery, a 10pm cut off for next-day delivery, and an express service to Europe and beyond, plus flexible return options.
Shop online: boohoo.com
A devoted traffic following of over 21 million followers every month and fan following as high as the royals, ASOS, the London-based online fashion phenomenon displays clothing from over 800 brands and its personal label. Nick Robertson and Quentin Griffiths founded the brand in June 2000, it offers end of line and former season products at a discounted price.
An ideal choice for students as you can buy prom dresses priced below $150, 10% discount on campus crash, free shipping, for men from Ties & Pocket Squares, Pants & Chinos, T-Shirts, and Jackets & Coats. Women can shop from a wide range of sweaters & cardigans, jumpsuits & rompers, kimonos, chic maternity wear (The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, recently looked elegantly styled in an Asos Maternity wear), for petite figure, and refined shirts & blouses.
Shop online: ASOS
The tagline 'Shop Frugal and Look Fancy' goes well along with this brand. Forever 21 was first established as Fashion 21 on 21st April, 1984 by Do Wong Chang and his wife Jin Sook in a low-income part of Los Angeles. At present the low-priced fashion line has over 477 stores in 15 countries, and the chain of stores is on a quick rise over the urban-trendy fashion market.
None of the clothing items are priced above $60 and hence fashion is accessible to all thereby making itself a large potential market. They offer clothes to kids, men, plus size, and pregnant women. It so cheap that everyone can afford a piece of extravagance at Forever 21.
Shop online: FOREVER 21
If you are part of the hippie crowd or the classic vintage beauty, then this brand has a lot to offer. Urban Outfitters was established in 1970 by Richard Hayne and caters to retro, vintage, bohemian, hipster, and cutesy style. It boosts of 400 stores worldwide due to their unique selection of hip-style clothing going by the perfect phenomenon of "I have to purchase these awesome pieces even though I will never use it" feeling.
Apart from being the mecca for students it also has a loyal fan following of the hipster bunch who die by the feather headbands, fringed bags, scarves, ponchos, rompers, and breezy dresses. Men can shop from a wide range of graphic tees, printed shirts, to bright sneakers. With attractive sales and discounts the store is a tempting fling with fashion.
Shop online: URBAN OUTFITTERS
The brand's customer base consists of fashion-conscious young men and women who like to work chic and party smart. Express was established in the 1980s and from then it has grown to over 600 retail and factory mercantile establishments across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The clothing ranges from dapper street style, fun casuals, and voguish office wear. The denim collection for women ranges from the slim fit with a mid rise Mia style, slim fit with an ultra low rise Zelda style, regular fit with low rise Stella style and thick-stitched red-rock style; whereas for men Blake, Rocco, Kingston, and Alec styles. Trendy accessories, discounts, sales, LookBook inspiration, and free shipping over $125 are some of the attractive features.
Shop online: Express
Founded in 1977 by the Silverman brothers, this brand is popularly known for its voguish casual wear featuring low-rise jeans, polo shirts, graphic T-shirts, henley shirts, tank tops, crops, leggings, boxers and briefs, outerwear, and swimwear.
The company has its own (US only) credit card and its own reward card dubbed as the "All Access Pass". You can earn reward points based on your purchase and these accumulated points expire every 3 months at which a coupon can be redeemed which is sent through the mail rewarding discounts from 10 to 40% off. The store also boasts of heavy discounts, clearance offers, and e-gift cards that enhance the shopping experience.
Shop online: AMERICAN EAGLE OUTFITTERS
This brand promotes a blend of ageless classics and the new trends and is also very well-known for its classic "black & white" styles. The first concept store was opened in Toronto on Queen St. West in 1985 by Joe Mimran and Alfred Sung. From then on, it has been taken over by Polo Ralph Lauren. The company now has over 140 stores worldwide, it also partners with third-party brands like Ray-Ban sunglasses, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Mackage leather goods, high-end designers like Chanel and Hermès. It also includes exclusive accessories designed by talented designers like Erickson Beamon for jewelry and Jane Mayle for handbags.
The pieces are moderately priced between $100 - $300. Career-conscious fashion-forward women can shop for the latest styles, along with jackets that fit the petite frames, and urban chic leather accessories. Men can shop from a range of tees and polo shirts, chinos, blazers, suits, dress shirts, and casual wear.
Shop online: CLUB MONACO
A Canadian chain store based in Montreal founded by YM Inc. in 2000, it has over 80 stores across Canada. The brand is largely inspired by goth, hip-hop, and urban casual cultures. A range of stylish urban chic cropped sweaters to high-waist skater skirts, and fashion accessories are available at affordable prices.
Men can shop for denim wear, in vogue loungewear, jackets, coats, and refined footwear. Other features include discounted spring deals, sales, and gift cards.
Shop online: Urban Planet
The brand initially started out as a sports and hunting equipment store, it was founded by David Abercrombie on 4th June, 1892 and later taken over by Ezra Fitch. At present, it has over 400 stores across America, it also boosts of a credit card (US only) and attractive gift cards.
Girls can go soft headed over slouchy T-shirt dresses to floral print breezy dresses, stylish leggings and jeggings, flares, rompers, and graphic tees. Young men can shop a variety from shorts, graphic tees, polos, shirts, and fashionable accessories.
Shop online: Abercrombie & Fitch
AllSaints was founded in 1994 by Stuart Trevor and Kait Bolongaro, it started out as a wholesale menswear brand that supplied solely to high-end retailers such as Harvey Nichols and Harrods. The collection is finely inspired by the rocker chic community and features leather biker jackets, posh pants and leggings, printed dresses, and denims.
For men a vast collection of polos, shirts, coats, jackets, and denims apart from gift ideas for him and her, free shipping over $200 and free return policy. You can also take inspirations from the trendy LookBook and shop from the latest spring 2015 assemblage.
Shop online: ALLSAINTS
Fashion comes really cheap with Rue21. The store was established in 1976 as Pennsylvania Fashions Inc., at present there are over 700 stores across America. The brand specializes in trendiest jewelry, shoes, handbags, sunglasses, fragrance, plus-size tops, bottoms, outerwear, jogger wear, and sleep wear.
One can also shop from the latest trends for e.g. for girls - Prom shop, American dreamer, Global bazaar, Mix & Match, and Festival ready sections; whereas for men NBA, Pop athlete, and Fresh prints. It offers huge discounts and hence is ideal for the teen crowd. With matching accessories and fragrances, free shipping over $50, and free in-store returns, the brand is worth one tempting look.
Shop online: Rue21
The next time you visit Chicago, make sure to check in on "Akira." An upcoming trendsetting fashion store that has over 18 stores in Chicago itself. After all, even Katy Perry loves to go incognito and shop from the outlet whenever she is there. Its first store was established on 7th July 2002 as a single women's clothing store in Wicker Park/Bucktown by Erikka Wang, Jon Cotay, and Eric Hsueh. The store now boosts of women and men's clothing, footwear, and accessories. With discounts, free shipping over $75, and sales, it's a pleasurable shopping experience.
Shop online: AKIRA
The most 'affordable' label created in 1991 by iconic Italian designer Giorgio Armani, Armani Exchange now boosts of over 200 stores worldwide. He plans on expanding this uber-chic concept into a fast fashion brand soon. If you wish to steal the styles of its famous patrons Rihanna, Eva Longoria, Leighton Meester, Paris Hilton, Blake Lively, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Richie, then this fashion line that's a fusion of metropolitan lifestyle and music culture is sure the right deal.
Featuring urban style, ready-to-wear products, especially T-shirts, jeans, polos, and sports coats along with voguish accessories make the look and feel of this brand very young and preppy. Sales, discounts, free shipping over $100, and LookBook, select style inspirations are some of the attractive aspects of the brand.
Shop online: ARMANI EXCHANGE
Shoppers are a dynamic breed and they are always on the lookout for something new. I hope the above list of brands helps in quenching the relentless urge of using your credit card and beautifying your wardrobe collection 'economically.'