Attraction arrives for fashionistas

Posted Oct. 27, 2006

Get ready to grab some plastic and head for the city. H&M has invaded Los Angeles and it won’t be long until this trendy, European, fashion thrifty powerhouse has you scrambling for a part-time job in order to feed that gnawing fashion addiction.

Hipsters from all around Los Angeles and L.A. County clung to the sidewalks for the grand opening of H&M in Pasadena, the first H&M store to open in Southern California.

The lines were grueling on its Sept. 21 opening, but die-hard fashionistas found this to be only a minor inconvenience.

As policemen monitored the line, hipsters dressed in suede grey skinny jeans, metallic lame dresses and streams of gold jewelry huddled behind the ropes eagerly awaiting their turn to enter the store.

Fashion forecasters snapped pictures of the feline street urchins whose sense of style seemed to seep from their veins.

This was the place to be, and this grand opening has marked a new chapter for the style groupies in and around L.A. County.

Previously H&M was a store of legend, only attainable in major cities like Paris, London and New York.

Its first California location was in San Francisco, but until now the stores have not wandered anywhere close to the realm of Los Angeles

“I’m from New York and we have the stores there,” said Barbara Mulligan, associate director of student life.

“I’ve always loved their clothes and their good quality.”

 As mouth-watering onlookers waited for the grand opening, many people wondered how this fashion forward store would change the face of L.A. fashion as we know it.

“I think it’s going to market more affordable clothing,” said Rachel McCarthy-Moya, a junior English major from Occidental and H&M customer.

H&M has a reputation for taking designer styles straight from the runway and turning them out in its stores at closeout prices.

At H&M, there is no excuse for not being stylish.

Everything is cutting edge and everything is affordable.

And with new shipments arriving daily, this retailer has perfected the cutting edge fashion market.

Its turnover rate from street trend to store item is around three weeks.

H&M is also known for having celebrities and fashion giants like Madonna and Karl Lagerfield design personal collections.

So now almost anyone can own a Lagerfield designed coat or sweater because H&M has brought the high price of fashion to a price range near you.

“They have high-end designers for an affordable price,” McCarthy-Moya said. “Forever 21 has cute clothes, but the design aspect isn’t as high fashion.”

Once inside the store, the chaos continued as clothes were flung left, right and center.

Eager hands pulled at desirable compositions in search of that “diamond in the rough,” that hidden fortune and that one-of-a-kind sweater that would shine in next week’s biology class.

Clothes do not just dangle from hangers awaiting an interested party; they are flung onto stuffed cash registers like white on rice.

Forget browsing in this store, mud wrestling is a more accurate term to describe the arena of the opening weekend frenzy in Pasadena.

Standing between the elegant Tiffany’s and Co. and the sleek Apple Store, this retail giant has brought a new meaning to “new kid on the block.”

However as far as business goes, these other retailers should be gallivanting in the streets.

This is because the ever so chic Colorado Boulevard has just been doused with a new rush of eclectic clientele.

Its elevated status has competitors diving in for the action.

The famous chic and cheap retailer Forever 21 recently moved into the old Saks Fifth Avenue building off Colorado Boulevard and is trying to put its foot down on the competition.

But unfortunately Swedish-based H&M has left its competitors in the dust in many ways.

The stores have done this by simply staying true to cutting-edge fashion.

They are specific about their trendy styles, and while other retailers like Forever 21 attempt to keep up, H&M is outrunning them in the fashion department by a long shot.

Because of its high turnover trend rate, this chain has managed to keep its stores consistently up-to-date.

After flipping through the pages of the new Nylon magazine, anyone could bet that H&M would be the place to go to pick up some of the new trends displayed on the oh-so-hip magazines’ pages.

So if school has you dried up and lifeless, feening for that boost of freshness and fabulousness, take a trip out to H&M in Pasadena, mud wrestle your way through the crowds and land yourself in fashion heaven.

It may change your life.

Katherine Hillier can be reached at

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