An English Girl in Israeli H&M

Author: Angel Cutsforth
Angel’s Style Scrapbook

I knew the minute I saw that it was 9:20am and I was about to reach Azrieli shopping mall that I was going to try to go to the new H&M. I had an hour before I had to be at work and well, what else was I going to do for about 45 minutes?

In the UK, I used to love H&M. They had great basics, some classic tailoring at a fraction of the price of other places and they pretty much summed up my style, with a proper fit. Their statement pieces also used to catch my eye and really made me feel like I was buying something that was trendy but had staying power. I was worried looking at the Israeli H&M website that all they would bring would be the over trendy, the basics or even just the denim.

I stepped off the bus, pretty much ran up the stairs into the mall and power-walked my way to the escalator to get up to the second floor. I couldn’t help but feel like I was doing something wrong, I didn’t have a huge amount of time before work and well I knew there would be a queue.

I saw the line of women, men, and families. It wasn’t hugely long and they still hadn’t let people onto the bridge, and the doors weren’t open yet, so I thought to myself “I’ll see how it goes”, I had a feeling that I would be able to get in and out before 10:15 which was my limit in order to get to work on time.

The doors opened and the queue steamed forward. They stopped letting people in 10 people in front of me, and I have to say the bouncers looking after the line where great at ignoring us saying “it’s only 3 more people please…”, they obviously learned from the first day madness.

I got in ten minutes after the store opened, it’s separated into six sections; four for women, one for children and one for menswear. Obviously I didn’t go into the kidswear or menswear sections but from what I did see they both have nice pieces, there are some great thin shorts for men and the prices are pretty good.

I looked at the front section near the entrance first, lots of navy blue, denim, nautical inspiration etc. I saw a few things but nothing really caught my eye as unusual or I have to have that now. The prices were decent, most things were around 100-150NIS which is pretty good for a foreign brand here in Israel. Mango’s and Zara’s prices both suffer from inflation because of import duties, and knowing they can get away with it.

I moved on into the second section or the store. I was hit with the neon colors of the Sonia Rykiel collection for H&M. As lovely as some of the pieces where, I have to say that knitwear isn’t very practical for the current climate in Israel and most of those pieces will be left for the sales, and people will buy them with Autumn Winter in mind. Either that or H&M will send them back to countries where they will be bought at full price.

I have to say that the statement pieces in the store weren’t getting much attention. Most of the women in there where going for the simple pieces that fit the casual Israeli style, but with that I’m not sure that H&M brought over a lot of the statement pieces that they are selling in other countries. If they aren’t then they seriously did their market research, although I think that in doing that they lost a lot of the fantastic trends that are going on this Spring Summer, and they are making themselves competition for Gap rather than Castro.

There was one floral dress in dark purple and pale green (which I bought in one color and I’m going back for the other one next month). The material is a bit thick and the cut isn’t something that I think Israeli’s – who have embraced the 80’s over the past few seasons – will go for. It’s more of a 50’s style which although being on trend for SS 2010 isn’t what I think Israelis will be looking for. It fits my personal style to a T though!

I think most Israelis will go to Castro for their statement pieces this season, however it looks like H&M is going to have a huge following for basics and jeans and it’s definitely going to have to prove its worldwide appeal over the next few seasons when the hype has worn off. It has my loyalty though, and I can’t wait to see how it goes from strength to strength.

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