H&M is coming to Singapore
For Singapore's fashion-obsessed, the announcement of Swedish clothing retail giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) opening here in late 2011 has been greeted with big whoops of joy.
The brand known for its sell-out collaborations with designers such as Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Roberto Cavalli is a long-overdue addition to Singapore's fashion landscape.
For the Swedish retailer, Singapore will be its first foray into Southeast Asia. It already has a presence in North Asia with shops in Hong Kong and Shanghai since 2007.
"For us it is not been too long, this is a perfect moment," says H&M press officer Pernilla Halldin when asked why it has taken this long to set up here.
And while the 3,000 square meter store won't be up and running till next year, the region's fashion conscious have already memorized the date and Orchard Building location.
For many, a Singapore store will mean no longer having to fly to other cities with H&M stores for targeted shopping sprees.
"Wow! This will be bittersweet. On one hand, I love H&M, on the other, I've enjoyed the exclusivity," says Marie Choo who regularly plan trips to cities with H&M stores and makes sure to visit all its major outlets.
On an industry level, the arrival of H&M will herald a change in the local fashion stakes.
"Every time H&M enters a market, there's a huge flurry of excitement," says Angelia Teo, Asia Pacfic content director for WGSN, an online trend-spotting authority. "In Japan, it literally turned fashion on its head. Suddenly luxury was not the pinnacle, trend-right affordable high street was the choice, even among once label-hungry youth."
Teo who is Singaporean also predicts that the entry of H&M will alter the island's fashion quotient.
"Singapore will transform too, maybe we'll ditch our casual singlet look for more considered fashion -- one can hope! But surely everyone will get access to democratic fashion!"