Last week H&M, Hennes & Mauritz, rolled out the red carpet to celebrate the grand re-opening of their flagship Harlem store. The store first opened in 2002 as a part of “Harlem Center”, a group of retail establishments that were first to open in the now “revitalized” Harlem.
Through out the evening the H&M staff welcomed guests, both Harlem residents and visitors, to the neighborhood that has had a long history of being fashionable and chic. They also gave the press and Harlem’s fashion elite a sneak peek into their new collections (delivered to the store daily) and innovative styles which give Harlem shoppers even more access to the latest trends for the whole family.
As the evening went on it was hard to determine who was a guest and who was a model because everyone looked like a walking mannequin for H&M. The VIP crowd, as well as the store layout, was bold, colorful, daring, trendy and fabulous.
Celebrity Stylist Misa Hylton-Brim
During the event I spoke with LT, a Harlem resident and H&M employee of almost ten years. He mentioned that the company takes care of its employees and he’s extremely proud to be part of the H&M family. I also had a few moments to speak to speak with Max Bonbrest of LaForce + Stevens (H&M’s PR firm) who worked with his team to make sure the event was run efficiently. Hors d’oeuvres from Sylvia’s included macaroni and cheese balls, catfish and shrimp battered in grits, and miniature red velvet cupcakes. Belvedere Vodka was a sponsor and they provided the evening’s libations.
Uptown Magazine Was Also a Sponsor
The last person I interviewed was Tony Everett, H&M’s Publicity Director. He said “he’s satisfied with Harlem as a premium location because it’s more than a typical shopping experience; it’s also a family experience“. We also discussed the appeal that H&M has had in the menswear industry over the past few years. Everett explained that H&M offers more than skinny jeans and tees for men. Their menswear selection is versatile and your typical male shopper can shop for both work attire and leisure wear at affordable prices.
In addition to H&M being the go to source for budget-savvy shoppers who don’t want to dismiss quality or style, they are also one of the major companies devoted to supporting members of Harlem community. As a part of their re-opening celebration, the next day they opened their stores an hour earlier to let the members of the local Boys & Girls Club shop at discounted prices before the store opened to the general public. They also donated gift cards and financial grants to support the Club and one lucky person won an Access to Fashion Pass, which granted the shopper a personal H&M stylist.
Top photo via Curbed. All other photos Courtesy of Taj Washington.
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