H&M Philippines: Open at last (Part 5)

On October 16, the day before H&M opened to the public, we heard there people already in line outside SM Megamall as early as 9AM.
H&M promised gift cards (up to Php 6,000) to the first 200 in line, plus opening offers up to 50 percent off.
As a mom and H&M customer who has lined up previously for special collabs in Tokyo and Hong Kong, I worried about the kids camping out in front of EDSA.
Good thing the October weather cooperated. It was slightly breezy when I checked outside our house.

H&M opens in Manila
H&M opens in Manila

During the night, H&M distributed bottled water and cinnamon buns to those in queue. And just before going to bed, I checked Instagram for updates. The kids posting told me there were already 400 in line. I tried to ask them where’s the toilet and how do they charge their gadgets, but nobody replied.
On October 17, this was the scene outside Megamall: check out the scary long line around the building.

H&M opens in Manila
H&M opens in Manila

Finally the doors opened the H&M staff in a flash mob dance. Only in the Philippines.

H&M opens in Manila
H&M opens in Manila
H&M opens in Manila

Then H&M awarded the first three in line: Olivia Iglesia (first) said she was heartbroken and ready to spend Php 10,000 at the store (she received a Php 6,000 gift check).
Her brother, Sean Iglesia was second; he got Php 3,000. And Love de Ocampo (third) received Php 2,000.
All three already knew what they wanted to buy.

H&M opens in Manila

Just before opening its doors to the public, the ribbon was cut by (L-R) Magnus Olsson (H&M Philippines Country General Manager), Line Juhlin (H&M Regional Sales Manager), Gene Fajardo (H&M store manager), and Karl-Johan Persson (H&M CEO)

Ribbon Cutting

“The anticipation over our launch in the Philippines has been intense, and I am proud to welcome Filipino shoppers into our very first store,” said Karl-Johan Persson. “We hope that we can offer our customers added value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price.”
H&M at SM Fashion Hall carries a full assortment of fashion items for women, men, teenagers and children, including athletic wear and lingerie. The store is now open during regular store hours of 10 AM to 10 PM.
To see more of what’s in store, go to http://www.hm.com/ph/

H&M Philippines: VIP night (Part 4)

After seeing the entire store on the afternoon of the 15th, I decided to go home and rest before the VIP event at 7 PM.
I knew beforehand that 1500 guests were invited—most of which were sure to come. So I did the math: if the H&M store at SM Fashion Hall is 3,000 square meters, divided by 1500 guests, we’re looking at two people per square meter including racks of merchandise. I just knew there would be pandemonay.

Store interior 2

So I went home to rest and told my friends to meet me at home at 9:30 and plan to leave past 10. We also monitored the crowd density through live updates on Instagram. Here’s who came to VIP night:
Karl-Johan Persson, CEO and president of H&M, flew in from Sweden and came straight from NAIA (H&M was founded by his grandfather Erling Persson)

Karl-Johan Persson

Rachelle Ann Go performed at the red carpet

Rachelle Ann Go

while Japanese DJ Mademoiselle Yulia played inside the store

DJ Mademoiselle Yulia

Spotted on the red carpet were celebrities Maggie Wilson Consunji

Maggie Wilson-Consunji

Mike Concepcion and Jess Connelly

Mike Concepcion and Jess Connelly

Model Vanessa Matsunaga

Vanessa Matsunaga

Models Valerie delos Santos and Robby Mananquil

Valerie delos Santos and Robby Mananquil

Editor Ria Prieto with son Dimitry

Ria Prieto with son, Dimitri

Model Phoemela Baranda

Phoemela Baranda

and half of the Magalona family (L-R): Arkin, Saab, Pia, Clara, Frank Magalona

The Magalonas - Arkin, Sab, Pia, Clara and Frank

Inside, I saw actor Elmo Magalona

Elmo Magalona

Model Tweetie de Leon Gonzalez

Tweetie Gonzalez

My neighbors Paolo and Rissa Trillo

Paolo and Rissa Trillo

Editor Liza Ilarde

Liza Ilarde

H&M followers Larisse Wan and Tricia Pancho

Larisse, Tricia and friends

Also saw stylist Andre Chang

Andre Chang

and his sister Daryl Chang of Preview magazine

Daryl Chang

The crowd had already thinned out when we arrived at 10:30 and guests were mostly paying, like Inquirer’s Tatin Yang (left) and Pam Pastor

Pam Pastor
cashier scene

Also spotted Margarita Fores’ friendly waiters Rene Balbin

Rene Balbin

and Homber Mijares, whose tray of scallops I wiped out (yum!!)


On our way out I saw my friend, makeup artist Eliza Santiago, still looking fresh late at night.

Eliza Santiago

My friends and I left SM Megamall close to midnight, with only one day, nine hours, and 28 minutes before H&M Philippines opened to the public.

one day to go

(To be continued)

H&M Philippines: the calm before the storm (Part 3)

H&M at SM Fashion Hall has three floors. The first two levels are dedicated to women’s wear.
From what I saw, the first floor has the pricier, premium items

inside the store
inside the store
inside the store

while the second floor has more of the basics and the teeny stuff

inside the store
inside the store
inside the store
inside the store

The only thing I picked up for myself are a pack of the softest black socks (as usual).
As a mom of three boys ages 6, 12, and 13, my favourite was the boys’ section on the 3rd level with great prices. Amazing to see H&M prices in our own currency. The 20% discount on VIP night was enticing, but I limited my haul to these:

H&M receipt

Here’s a great gift idea for all your nieces and nephews and godchildren—H&M gift cards that get loaded at the cashier from Php 300 up.

gift cards

Spotted working before the guests arrived were Dan Mejia (PR Responsible, H&M Philippines) with Magnus Olsson (H&M Country Manager, Greater China and Southeast Asia)

Dan and Marcus

Friendly faces from L-R: Jose Baccol from Cibo di M catering, photographer Daniel Tan, Dan Mejia of H&M, and photographer Ryan Ong


Surprised to see our former security Salvador Odeña (left) and his colleague Baineg Julit at the door

store guards

Outside, events director Jackie Aquino and his team made sure everything was in place

Jackie Aquino

As did Alexei Villaraza (Director of Media Content, Bridges PR) and Nikki Verzo (H&M Showroom Manager) with Philippine Star’s Monique Buensalido

Alexei, Nikki, Monique

(Up next: VIP night)

H&M Philippines: the calm before the storm (Part 2)

The invitations arrived on October 7 with specific instructions to confirm attendance and bring the physical invitation to VIP night on October 15th from 7PM to midnight.


But then I had an assignment to interview H&M’s Catarina Midby at 3:30 PM, so I was there at 3 PM.
SM Fashion Hall was ready for opening with ads screaming inviting prices.

H&M ads

The area fronting the store was barricaded, and behind it, a red-carpeted floor

before the event
before the event

The SM guards were getting ready

SM guards

as were men in black (bouncers)

men in black

I had time to kill so I decided to review my notes at Tim Ho Wan—first time I have ever seen it without a line (and I have been there 15 times since it opened)

Tim Ho Wam no queue

Half an hour later I received a text that Catarina Midby had arrived for the interview. (more on that later)

Catarina Midby of H&M

After a 15-minutes, I had to give way to Coco Alcuaz of ANC. They gave me a chance to look at the entire store and decide what to buy later. H&M at SM Fashion Hall has three floors with 3,000 square meters of space.
I started at the third level where the children’s and menswear are located.
The children’s section is my favorite of all. It makes me feel bad I no longer have a small baby.

baby clothes
baby clothes
baby clothes

I found the men’s section more interesting the women’s with its long, flowy, dark Rick Owens-like pieces.

inside the store
inside the store
inside the store

and a good selection of basics, classics, and David Beckham Bodywear

inside the store
inside the store
inside the store
inside the store
inside the store

(To be continued)

H&M Philippines: What it means to me (Part 1)

I can’t remember any store opening that has been crazier or more anticipated than H&M in the Philippines.
I can only think of a few more brands that would cause a similar or bigger opening—that is, if these brands will ever hit our shores:
1) IKEA — expect pandemonay
2) Disneyland — probably not in our lifetime
3) Target — probably will not happen
4) Shake Shack — heard it is coming, and I’m scared for the queue and my weight
5) Din Tai Fung — heard they are coming and I’m not joining the queue

The first time I ever heard of H&M was in the winter of 2000, when I had to fly to the Netherlands without any winter clothes. Jeroen picked me up at Schipol Airport and promised to help me buy winter clothes at Hennes & Mauritz, which is what it was called then.
All I remember now was buying mostly basic long-sleeve T-shirts that were very affordable.

I am not your regular H&M customer. I don’t make it a point to go to an H&M store when traveling—unless there is an important collab I am interested in, such as Comme des Garçons in 2008

H&M for Comme des Garçons

and Maison Martin Margiela in 2012—both of which I lined up for

H&M queue at Elements HK (before dinner)

I’ve been to H&M stores a few times where all I bought were children’s clothes and socks for me.
But even though I’m not your regular H&M customer, I am excited for all Filipinos who are.

What does H&M opening in the Philippines mean to me?
1) No need to drop by H&M at all when traveling
2) Hoping I never have to fly to another country for future collabs
3) I am aware that many Filipinos are bitter that there is now H&M here. Not me. The ones who are bitter are those who consider H&M “high fashion”. H&M is fashion for all, so we should be happy for all Filipinos who can update their wardrobe at an affordable price.
4) Have a feeling that many clothing brands are going to feel the hit of H&M in their own stores.
5) I’m expecting the queues to last until January.

That said, I feel lucky to have been invited to preview the H&M showroom in Manila last June 2014 and the VIP shopping event last October 15.

H&M showroom in Manila

(To be continued)

Nigo makes Adidas look too cool

While most Japanese people are born with an innate sense of cool, some Japanese are naturally cooler than others.
Take Nigo—music producer, DJ and creator of the urban clothing line A Bathing Ape, otherwise known as Bape.


In the early ’90s, I was one of those who curiously lined up at the Bape store in Aoyama to see what the hype was all about. All I remember now is, everything was for men.
I have never worn anything Bape (or Bapy for women), but have always been aware of Nigo.
Earlier this month, an auction of 107 items from his private collection achieved a whopping US$4.5 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
This November, adidas Originals will release its collaboration with by NIGO for Fall/Winter 2014.

Nigo x adidas
Nigo x adidas
Nigo x adidas
Nigo x adidas
Nigo x adidas
Nigo x adidas

True to his passion for classic and vintage clothing, Nigo has handpicked and re-interpreted pieces from the Adidas Originals archives, blending sportswear with contemporary street style to create new street classics.
Adidas Originals by NIGO will be available at leading Adidas stores in the Philippines starting November 1, 2015.
Watch how Nigo makes Adidas look too cool.

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