From runway to racks: fashion phenomenon to hit Nashville this summer

Move over, Gibson Guitars—there’s a new retailer in town.

Well, almost.

Nashville is expecting a hot summer—a haute summer, to be exact.

H&M, the high-quality, low-budget Swedish fashion retailer with a fan base as thriving as its appeal to cutting-edge trends, announced in January its plans to open a store in the 25,000 square foot former Gibson Showcase store in Opry Mills mall.

Based in Europe with locations dotting the globe, H&M features the gamut of international fashion trends at outlet deals. From haute-couture classics like Helen Hunt’s 2013 Oscar attire to casual street style, they serve to dress to the best for less.

“I love how H&M has a variety,” said Belmont student Gracie Helms. “They have anything from $2 undershirts to beautiful dresses. I feel like once I go into H&M I spend hours in there.

“I actually got my graduation dress from H&M and I still wear it all the time,” said Helms of a favorite wardrobe staple—tied for first with a straw fedora she also purchased from the store.

Nashvillians who love to shop at H&M have had to drive as far as Atlanta to get their fashion bang for their buck. The Nashville opening has pushed many far past excitement.

“When I first heard that H&M was opening in Nashville, I was ecstatic. It is one of my favorite stores and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Belmont freshman Ara Vito.

“I’m excited about having the store here in my hometown so that I don’t have to drive a long distance in order to shop there. Their prices are amazing and I like their clothes better than those at Forever 21,” said Vito of a similarly stocked competitor.

One local woman even created a “Bring H&M to Nashville” Facebook group in November of 2012.

“I would have to guess Nashville is the most appropriate choice based on population and tourism,” Facebook group creator Devon Kolozsi said.

H&M has set the date—the grand opening will take place July 13, according to Jennifer Newton at the Nashville Women’s Style Examiner.

 H&M will be pulling out all the stops for a grand opening worth remembering, company press representative Nicole Christie told The Tennessean.

“We want to add some surprises for Nashville at the celebration, with a local twist,” Christie said.

 The Nashville location will be geared toward all people—men, women, children, athletes and plus-sized alike.

“We want to give Nashville everything,” said Christie. “Men’s, women’s, young trends, kids, an H&M sport section with workout and athletic wear, and H&M plus. Every option is coming.”

The wide array of appeal coupled with designer quality at low prices makes this shopping locale ideal for the college demographic, with staple college wardrobe items such as jeans and cardigans as low as $13 to $15.

“I love going to H&M because the clothes are cute and affordable and they have a lot of classic things that I know I’ll wear often,” said Vito. “They also seem to be more well-made than the clothes at Forever 21; the things I’ve bought there in the past have held up for a long time.”

“Most college students, including me, don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes but we also don’t want to look tacky,” added Vito. “So H&M is great because their clothes are classy and versatile but can also fit realistically into a budget.”

Those of Belmont’s male population have also spoken up about their excitement.

“It really gives you a great range of styles and prices, but it’s all high quality,” said student Zach Hurst. “It has great things at the $20-30 range.”

“It’s a great place for all people to explore,” said Hurst. “They always have something new.”