Boho festival chic from H&M’s festival collection for Fashion Against AIDS/HIV.

One reason we often cover H&M at Label Networks isn’t just because they rank relatively high in our European Youth Culture Studies (and on the rise in North America), but because they often have unique campaigns that are among the most leading-edge in fashion.

It cannot be ignored that this fast-fashion giant, similar to Uniqlo, often leads retailers and manufacturers into new areas as the success rate of their various concepts, from collaborations, to new media, to events, and now philanthropy, create attention among youth culture globally.

Their latest two campaigns coincide with summer, including Fashion Against AIDs starting on May 20, featuring a summer music “festival” inspired collection from which 25% of sales are donated to youth HIV/AIDS awareness projects, and the H&M Saves the Oceans campaign with WWF featuring their tanktop and organic cotton T-shirt collection that will help support WWF’s work in South East Asia’s Coral Triangle. This collection features prints inspired by the sea and marine life, and will also debut later in May. Sales from the Save the Ocean collection will support WWF’s urgent marine work.

Military-inspired jackets and long-short cut-offs for guys are among the H&M festival collection.

Here’s more from what H&M has to say:

“For me, festivals are unique and inspirational places as they join both music and fashion. To see your favorite bands, to see creative people gathered, all from different nations and with different looks really inspires me. It is very important to make people aware of the problem with AIDS and HIV and we want to contribute in the fight against the disease by donating some of the sales from this collection,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s head of design.

As though reading a trending report straight from Coachella, H&M also believes that the festival look is all about freedom of expression and shared experiences. For girls this summer there’s a mix of rock with bohemia and glamour with added ethnic touches. Denim hotpants or patterned leggings are matched with embellished tunic tops, while maxi-dresses are toughened up when worn with leather jackets. Gladiator shoes, chunky bracelets, wide belts and beaded necklaces complete the look, while tribal print headphones give an extra twist.
For guys, it’s all about looking like you’re in the band, with slim blazers and jackets, faded and patched denim jeans and cropped shorts, embellished waistcoats, paisley vests and the essential rocker’s hat are all part of the picture. There are also tents, sleeping bags, as well as fold-up chairs for friends who join the camp.

Animal prints are a huge part of their festival collection.

The music festival collection from H&M marks the third year that they have supported the fight against AIDS, which has so far raised over 30 million SEK. The money has been divided between Designers Against AIDS (DAA), a body which promotes awareness of HIV/AIDS among the young, investigating new methods of peer group education and campaigning; YouthAids, focusing on its projects in Haiti and Russia to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in chronically affected areas; the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. As well as raising funds for the fight against HIV and AIDS, H&M hopes to raise awareness about safe sex among youth culture by donating to such an important cause.

“Fashion Against AIDS with H&M is a great way to reach millions of young people. With the donation money from the past two years, we’re opening our new International HIV/AIDS Awareness Education Center (IHAEC) in Antwerp in June 2010, where we’ll teach young people from all over the world how they can start safe sex campaigns using elements from fashion and pop culture. Fashion Against AIDS has opened many doors for DAA and we’re very grateful for this. It’s so important to keep informing young people worldwide about the importance of safe sex,” says Ninette Murk, founder of Designers Against AIDS.

H&M’s summer bikini collection featuring top models.

And finally, as if surf brands don’t have enough to worry about, H&M’s bikini campaign is quite stunning. First, it features supermodels Daria Werbowy, Julia Stegner, Erin Wasson, Sasha Pivovarova and Lara Stone as the faces for H&M’s swimwear 2010 collection, which launched early in May. It also features stories from the models’ favorite summer and beach memories, which make for an interesting read.

The photos were taken at St Barts in the Caribbean by photographer Patrick Demarchelier. H&M’s swimwear collection mixes safari with ethnic detailing and prints with a touch of the jet-set style.

More photos from H&M’s festival collection here:

The cool part of this collection is that 25% of sales go to Fashion Against AIDs and other awareness programs for HIV awareness among young people.

Baggy boyfriend jeans.

Rocker geek-chic for him, hippy style with a modern twist and accessories for her.