JAN 18 - 04
“/Nyden” – H&M’s new brand for the Netocracy
In the early 1990s, the American cultural technology magazine WIRED coined the term ”Netocracy”. The latter represents a portmanteau word consisting of “Internet” and “aristocracy” and refers to a perceived global upper class that justifies its increasing power in society by a strong technological advantage and distinct networking skills. While the term had rather been disappeared over the last two decades, it is currently experiencing a renaissance thanks to H&M. The Swedish clothing giant has just announced the launch of a new sub-brand called /Nyden. The brand name combines the two Swedish words “ny” and “den”, translating into “new” and “it” respectively. The bold slash before Nyden, which also serves as the brand’s logo, symbolizes what Oscar Olsson, creative director of the brand, calls “co-creation” and represents /Nyden’s understanding of the Netocrat’s expectation towards a modern clothing line: “In this future society, as any brand or any kind of provider of anything, you need to embrace the fact that the power is not in your hands [anymore],” Olsson argues. “The power has shifted to what we call tribes.” As a direct consequence of this change of paradigm, Olsson and his team decided to outsource the conventional role of the head designer to ever-changing so-called tribe leaders. The latter might be known either to the mainstream or only within their discrete communities. To name but two examples, two confirmed /Nyden co-creators constitute the tattoo artist Doctor Woo, who has 1.3 million Instagram followers, and the Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who is not present on social media, but is famous for her signature rebellious style. Olsson is convinced that his approach to co-creation strongly resonates with the Netocrat who “is more sensitive than ever to credibility, authenticity, and personality […]. They’re also more sensitive than ever to exploitation of themselves or other people” and would clearly refuse to be told, pursuant to the traditional, yet obsolete top-down model of fashion brands, what they do and don’t want to wear. Accordingly, /Nyden won’t follow the idea of imposed trends or seasons. Rather, the new brand wishes to create, with the aid of their tribe leaders, timeless wardrobe staples, which convince with their superior materials and cuts as well as with their limited character, and is thus positioned as an “affordable luxury” offering. We at Cc are thrilled to observe new brand concepts emerge that try to explore unchartered paths to better serve and connect with the extremely demanding millennial customer.