At 2.30 this morning Aneeqah Jacobs got out of bed, showered, dressed, made breakfast and painstakingly applied her makeup.

An hour later, she and a friend headed to Sylvia Park to find a spot outside H&M - the Swedish retail giant which opens its doors for the first time in New Zealand at 10am today.

Jacobs is taking with her a cushion and a blanket for the six hour wait.

The 20-year-old makeup artist has been a fan of the clothing chain, which is known for its collaborations with top fashion houses like Lanvin Givenchy and Kenzo, since she first stumbled upon a store in Paris last year.


"I just really loved it," she said.

Today, she's hoping to buy a dress, and perhaps a few other pieces that she can wear out tonight. She's already checked the website for inspiration, plans to spend "a few hundred dollars" and admits she's "fanatical about fashion".

Sylvia Park management is expecting such a rush of shoppers to the 2300 square metre, two level store, they've extended their opening hours and worked with Auckland Transport to ensure extra carriages double the capacity of trains stopping at Sylvia Park railway station ahead of opening of H&M today and Zara on Thursday.

Entertainment from DJs Clint Roberts and Aroha Harawira will pump up the crowd, while coffee, juice and crumpets are on offer to keen punters, like Jacobs, who are waiting outside the store from 7am. Gift bags were given to the first few in line.

Plans for the store at Sylvia Park were announced in October last year, and H&M Australia and New Zealand country manager Hans Andersson said he promised the wait would be worth it.

The store offered "added value through fashion, quality and sustainability at the best price", he said.

Sylvia Park owners Kiwi Property invested $7.7 million to accommodate H&M and upgrade adjacent mall areas, and spent $11.5m extending the mall out to one side for the new Zara premises.

After Spanish owned Zara, H&M is the world's biggest fashion retailer.

It has stores in 62 countries and online shopping in 32 countries, and last year H&M group reported a profit of $34 billion.

Viva and Canvas magazine fashion editor Dan Ahwa said as large retailers like H&M, Zara and Topshop entered the market, Kiwis needed to think more about what they were buying.

"We need to engage in dialogue with these brands so they continue to improve on being transparent about their supply chains.

"Not everyone can afford designer clothes and we tend to like mixing high end with high street and vintage, so these brands offer options," Ahwa said.

He advised shoppers not to be overwhelmed by the amount, and price of what was on offer.

H&M opens its first store in New Zealand with a red carpet launch event last night. We talk to Daniel Lattemann, Country Sales Manager for NZ about what the store will mean for NZ.

"Consider how many items you're buying. It might make sense at the time to buy the same item in different colours for a bargain, but think about whether you would wear all those colours or just black."

Other advice for conscious shoppers is to do quality checks, look at where items are made, and visit the store's website to see if it has a social responsibility report available.

Viva's Jessica Beresford says if you still can't get a clear answer, find a brand that is transparent and buy clothes from there.

AUT head of fashion Yvonne Chan said H&M and Zara would be competing against New Zealand chains like Glassons and Hallensteins.

She said a potential side effect of the retail giants doing well at Sylvia Park would be the possibility of more overseas chains - like GAP, Uniqlo, Primark, Forever 21 and Next - coming to New Zealand.

What's on offer:

H&M Studio AW16 collection:

Herald on Sunday fashion editor Michiko Hylands says the autumn-winter collection sees a shift to more folk-inspired fashion, with a plethora of richly embroidered pieces, heavily beaded and decorative touches with lots of tapestry type fabrics. "It's a richly romantic story."

Red Embroidered Hoodie: $199
Wide Sleeve Crop Jacket: $159
Black Maxi Dress with Floral Detail: $219
Velvet Beaded Crop Top: $199

Spring collection:

Hylands says the spring collection features lots of gorgeous bright florals and fabulous prints "perfect for teaming with blue denim".

Red Floral Skirt: $79.99
Panel Jeans: $79.99
Floral Shirt: $69.99

Stay cool this summer:
Herald on Sunday fashion editor Michiko Hylands says fashion's love affair with stripes continues - and striped shirts and wide-legged palazzo style pants are this summer's hottest ticket.

A huge 90s revival will see trend setters mixing up proportions and layering pieces like a 90s style bustier over a shirt.

"Look out for camisoles that can be worn over tops, T-shirts or shirts, and pants worn under dresses," Hylands says.

"Slinky slip dresses a la Kate Moss are making a comeback in all sorts of fabrics - such as satin and velveteen and the crisp white shirt gets deconstructed into cooler and edgier re-interpretations."

Ruffles, frills and flounces are also in this summer, Hylands says: "It's all about an ultra-feminine, romantic feeling with tiered skirts and pleating action galore."

Look out for anything sheer, or mirrored and shiny, and remember - the asymmetrical and 'cold shoulder' (off the shoulder) look is smoking hot.

"Asymmetric necklines and cut-outs are another way to show off the skin.

"The must-have shoe for the new season is the slip-on mule either flat like a slipper or with a flared heel.

"Bags are all about making a statement, so the more graphic the better," she said.

"For jewellery think quirky, oversized necklaces and rings with long, shoulder-grazing earrings - even mismatched ones which all help celebrate fashion's modern rebel at heart."