Ok, we all know 303 is kind of awesome. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be working for it and you wouldn’t be reading it. But, Wednesday’s H&M Grand opening on 16th Street Mall reaffirmed that 303 Magazine is not only on the pulse of what goes on in this great town, it creates it.

We knew H&M coming to Denver would be huge, so we offered to collaborate with them on the opening party. Rarely does the fast fashion brand agree to partner with other brands, but this duo was a match made in heaven. Once we announced the event, our guest list filled up within 15 minutes of being posted. And then the wait list grew by the minute. We received more than three times as many RSVPs then were allotted for the opening party! A newly married man even donated to a charity on behalf of 303 so that he could give his wife a once-in-a-lifetime gift and join the list. We anticipated excitement about the Swedish retailer finally opening in our town, but this was quite the response.

Well dressed and ready to shop, party goers lined up to see what H&M’s Denver debut would bring. While most attendees had to wait awhile to get a glimpse of the affordable, trendy merchandise and clean, sleek store, once inside it was about booze and buying. The bi-level store has plenty to choose from. Ladies were seen scooping up faux fur hats, gloves, boots and jackets, as well as work wear, rock ‘n roll tees, Nordic printed sweaters and colorful denim. Guys were digging harem pants, an iteration of a Sgt. Pepper velvet collarless blazer and a variety of coats. Jewelry is not abundant, but there are some good, on-trend pieces, as well as over-sized clutches and cute, affordable underpinnings.

Anyone who has been in an H&M knows how crazy it can be – long lines in the dressing rooms and at checkout, unhelpful staff, merchandise strewn everywhere. But not here. The dressing room line ran smoothly, and checkout was a breeze, largely because of a new system which places registers in the dressing rooms. Denver is the test market for this unique system. The staff couldn’t be nicer – or cuter for that matter. And, the merchandise assortment was thoughtful and well displayed.

Savvy shoppers ranged from trend-hungry students to young professionals to some of Colorado’s most notable, including Fallene Wells, Sara Ford, Steven Trujillo, a slew of Donna Baldwin models and Matthew Morris‘s main squeeze (Matthew was working on the Versace for H&M fashion show the same evening).

Weary shoppers were revived with passed hor d’oeuvres like chicken with pop rocks and limitless cocktails. By the time the store closed at 11p.m., attendees left with a good buzz and bags of merchandise.

303’s Misty Milioto spoke with H&M spokesperson, Nicole Christie, who said, “The new store really speaks to Denver being a city that appreciates fashion. There has been such a demand for our brand to come to Denver. H&M has been in the United States for 10 years, and for us to have people e-mailing us and telling us on Facebook that they can’t wait for H&M to bring our fashion collections to the Mile High City, it’s a sign that Denver really appreciates fashion, quality and great value, which is what we’re bringing. This is the first store in Colorado, but we feel we have so much more potential here. Looking at the response that we’ve had to the opening, we know that we’re also going to get a big regional response.”

This was definitely the hautest ticket in town and we’re grateful to all the frugal fashionistas that made it out and are participating in the city’s evolving style scene.

images: Deahna Brockman & Misty Milioto