Bye bye Beckham – H&M has something for The Weeknd instead

Swedish fast-fashion chain ends partnership with retired soccer star, 41, begun in 2011 as it seeks to woo younger shoppers by signing Canadian R&B star 15 years his junior to collaborate on a collection

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 10:03am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 4:49pm

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is swapping retired soccer star David Beckham for a 26-year-old Canadian musician as it seeks to win over young shoppers.

A near five-year partnership with Beckham, 41, will end this autumn.

Stockholm-based H&M is teaming up with Grammy-winning R&B artist Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, for a one-off menswear collection that will be available from March 2.

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Beckham’s image has been prominent in H&M stores since the retailer began what it called a “long-term” partnership in 2011 with the former England captain, who designed everything from underwear to raincoats. H&M said it isn’t ruling out future collaborations with the London-born star, who has also endorsed Adidas sports shoes, Breitling watches and Samsung smartphones.

H&M introduced its first Beckham Bodywear collection, featuring form-fitting underwear, in 2012 and expanded the partnership to include a broader range of garments, including jerseys and light summer suits dubbed Modern Essentials, in March 2015.

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The collaboration received widespread attention through advertisements including a Super Bowl spot that allowed fans to vote just how undressed they wanted Beckham to be.

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An H&M spokeswoman said there’s no link between the end of the Beckham partnership and the signing of Tesfaye, who promoted his new album, Starboy, on NBC’s Saturday Night Live last month and has collaborated with Kanye West, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake.

Tesfaye, who is of Ethiopian descent, will choose his favourite items for the H&M collection, entitled Spring Icons Selected by The Weeknd.