April 21, 2012 marked a very special day for shoppers in the Chubu region of Central Japan. On one of the main shopping streets of Nagoya, located within the massive Matsuzakaya Department store, H&M officially opened its doors to the public. With 3,200 square meters of shopping space, this new location is among the largest in all of Japan.
I took the subway downtown on opening day expecting to buy some discounted men’s fashion; however, what I found was a sight to behold. The line to simply enter the store wrapped around not one, not two, not even three, but five blocks around the store’s entrance. Four hours in line to purchase a trendy item of men’s fashion was not worth it to me, so this event raised the question, what’s the big deal about H&M?
H&M, which stands for Hennes & Mauritz AB, is a Swedish company known for its fast-fashion clothing items for men, women, and children. H&M is currently the second largest clothing retailer in the world, with hundreds of retail locations around the globe. Over the course of the last five years, the brand has exploded in popularity around the United States and Canada. Their selections for women and children are good, but their clothing options for men are even better. In my experience, H&M is one of the first largely popular stores to cater to the fashion needs of men on a near equal scale to those of women.
Four days after the opening, in the middle of the week, I made my way back to Nagoya’s massive H&M. This time, I was able to enter without any major issues, and I was even able to make a few purchases. The men’s fashion section was incredibly huge, dwarfing the men’s H&M sections in Chicago and even New York City. From scarves, to shoes, to fashion shirts, H&M Nagoya offered every fashionable item a man could ever need.
Regardless of location, the pricing of most clothing items cannot be beat. I purchased a pair of shoes, a pair of flip-flops, and even four pairs of socks for under $40 US. When looking for spectacular bargains on men’s fashion items, H&M should be your stop number one.
What truly sets H&M apart in the realm of men’s fashion is its attitude. This means that the store only offers the absolute latest looks. Where American companies like American Eagle and Aeropostale catch on to the latest fashions with a year lag, H&M takes styles directly off of the runway, and it offers them in stores within weeks. For example, their mannequins are dressed in colorful chinos, fitted t-shirts, and stylish scarves. The entire outfit can usually be purchased for under $50. Very few stores offer this type of bargain on fashions, especially for men.
I still do not understand waiting in line for hours just to enter, but after some research, it is easy to discover why H&M is such a big deal to so many.