H&M's Sure Thing: A Festival Collection That's Wallet-Friendly, Useful and for a Good Cause

Last Updated Apr 28, 2010 12:56 PM EDT

Lou Doillon and Lizzie Jagger in H&M Festival CollectionSummer time and the livin' (and spending) should be easy -- especially for festivalgoers. Enter H&M with a battery of affordable essentials from rock star fringe tops to leopard print tents aimed to suit the needs of outdoor music lovers. The world's third largest retailer is hoping its first line of festival appropriate apparel and accessories will also hit cause-conscious shoppers right in the wallet as 25 percent of the sales will be donated to youth HIV/AIDS awareness projects.

This is the third year the Swedish retailer is launching its Fashion Against AIDS campaign. Previous efforts raised more than 30 million Swedish krona, or $4.1 million in total. And that was just with t-shirt assortments. Okay so they were designed by rock stars. 2008's collection featured the design skills of artists such as Rihanna, Katharine Hamnett, Rufus Wainwright, Timbaland and Ziggy Marley among others. Provocative slogans splashed across 100 percent organic cotton T-shirts, tank tops, and hoodies ("Use a Condom!" shouted Hamnett's) sold out in the first few days on the racks.

Last year was a similar story: Cyndi Lauper's "Girls just wanna have safe sex" and Dita von Teese's sultry burlesque eye and lips were among the limited edition threads eagerly snapped up by collectors and the cause-conscious alike.

This year should prove to be a bigger success. H&M's savvy designers have conjured up a whole new concept: clothes to make buyers look like they're with the band along with sitting and sleeping gear because alas, they are not. For those who must hunker down with the masses in the general admission mayhem that prevails at such musical extravaganzas there are brightly colored ponchos ($2.95) a tribal motif sling chair ($12.95), paisley printed sleeping bags ($17.95) and the piece de resistance -- the leopard pop-up tent (also astonishingly, $12.95).

Unlike previous years, the items in the festival collection are not being billed as organic or sustainably produced, which is probably why H&M set the prices so low. Given the company's recent move to be more careful about its claims on materials after the GMO cotton imbroglio on its "eco-friendly" Garden Collection, H&M is wise to err on the side of caution -- and profits -- to produce this line which will likely not last long in stores.