By Nadine Kam
Eight-hundred invited guests crowded the entrance of H & M, Hennes & Mauritz AB, March 26, marking the grand opening of the international retail giant at the Waikiki Business Plaza, the first H&M store in Hawaii.
The event included food from chef Chai Chaowasaree, a concert by indie band Best Coast, and of course, it marked the first time attendees could shop the racks, full of spring trend items for men and women, including grand opening specials on accessories as low as $1, and apparel as low as $5.
The two floors could barely contain the crowd, and it took a lot of weaving and dodging to move through a crowd that has waited years to be able to shop the brand's reasonably priced contemporary apparel. It was such a frenzy that afterward, several people said they were so tired and relieved to get out the door.
H&M also unveiled an installation featuring artwork by local surf photographers Mike Coots, Sarah Lee and Zak Noyle, whose photos are being featured on a trio of limited-edition H&M T-shirts. All proceeds from sales of the shirts will benefit AccesSurf, a non-profit organization that provides surfing instruction and therapeutic educational programs on water recreation for people with disabilities.
H&M was established in Sweden in 1947. Today there are 310 stores in the United States and more than 3,100 H&M stores in 53 markets worldwide.
H&M is in the Waikiki Business Plaza, 2270 Kalakaua Ave.
H&M North America president Daniel Kulle, left, with local surf photographers Sarah Lee, Zak Noyle and Mike Coots, whose photos are being featured on limited-edition T-shirts, below, sales of which will benefit AccesSurf. — H&M photos
Nibbling on cotton candy with mango center, Brenda Flores, left, and
Marian Kang. Also among the edibles offered by chef Chai were crab cakes and garlic french fries.Jackie Ho, left, and Lesli Yano are ready for the hunt with black H&M shopping bags.
Jessika Fodor, center, principal broker of JFodor & Co., brokers for Waikiki Business Plaza / H&M, is the one to thank for helping to bring H&M to Honolulu. She says she's working on Zara next. She's with Chelsey Sponsler and Sky Close.