MANILA, Philippines–My love affair with H&M started in Berlin in 2005. After a visit to one store, I decided to make it my mission to visit as many of its branches worldwide.
And because I didn’t speak German, I would whip out my H&M receipt, show it to people on the streets and somehow, by waving their arms and pointing their fingers, they were able to lead me to the next store. And the next…
By the end of that short trip, I was so enchanted by H&M that I decided to write this love letter.
I love you.
Every time I see those “70% off” signs hanging from your ceiling, my heart skips a beat.
Many people said that everything’s expensive in Berlin. And I said I wouldn’t shop. But you made all of us eat our words.
You and your three-undies-for-one-euro-and-fifty-cents seduction. You and your try-any-size-because-any-size-fits magic. You and your we-have-bras-in-your-size sexiness.
You lured me with your luxurious fabrics, rich colors and unbelievable bargains.
Had I paid full price, I would have spent over 200 euros on clothes. But I didn’t.
I was able to buy six panties, five tops, two bras, a dress, a pair of pants, an adorable jumper, and a shirt for my brother, plus a lot of cheese, sausages, liverwurst and chocolate biscuits for my family and friends for under $100!
Unbelievable. You’re amazing, H&M.
Your fan for life,
‘This is heaven’
My romance with the Swedish fashion brand continued over the years. Wherever I went, stopping by H&M stores was always on my to-do list—in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore.
In Paris, I visited four stores in one day. In Dusseldorf, I braved hail so I could go shopping. Getting pelted in the face with chunks of ice? Totally worth it, considering the bargains I scored.
I’m only one of countless Filipinos who have been charmed by the brand on trips abroad; and for years, there were murmurs that H&M was opening in Manila. People kept asking: “Is it true? When?”
On Friday it finally happened. H&M opened its doors in the Philippines at SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall.
Wanting to be the first to get in, hard-core H&M fans lined up as early as Thursday afternoon.
Last Wednesday, at the opening party, we got a preview. H&M’s three floors pulsed with energy. It was a full-on shopping party.
Over a thousand VIP shoppers roamed the store, eager to discover pieces to fall in love with while waiters from Cibo Di M held out trays of drinks and delicious treats—cheesecakes, potato chips with caviar and our favorites, beef belly rigatoni with fontina cream and hazelnut and chocolate macarons with pate di fegato, balsamic onions and black sesame.
We kept bumping into friends and acquaintances, their arms laden with finds, and they wished us luck with our shopping. Soon, our own arms were covered with our own selections.
We were pleasantly surprised by the prices. One look at the tags quelled our worries that our H&M might be more expensive than its foreign counterparts.
There were necklaces, sets of earrings and stacks of rings for as low as P149. Ballet flats for P599. Scarves for P299. Jeans for P899. Shirts for P299. Sweaters for P599. Children’s clothes for P299.
“This is heaven,” we heard more than one shopper say.