Never doubt how crazy people can get over cheap clothes.
After weeks of build up, H&M’s new collaboration with designer label Balmain launched today (Nov. 5). A bit of chaos was expected, as is generally the case with these collections, which offer low-end approximations of luxury designs at more accessible prices. But nobody fully anticipated the stampedes that took place as H&M stores across the globe opened their doors to anxious shoppers.
On London’s Regent Street, scuffles broke out among people who had been lined up for hours, according to The Guardian.
In Paris, customers flooded the store, knocking over displays and scrambling to grab anything they could.
In a GQ roundup of the chaos, videos show shoppers in Poland and Dubai pushing past security guards and climbing under a security gate to get inside as stores open.
In other cities, shoppers had lined up days before the collection. Would-be buyers in Sydney patiently spent up to 20 hours in the rain just for the chance to shop the collection. In Singapore, some people waited in line for three days. But the award for sheer endurance has to go to Seoul, where some had reportedly been lined up for a full week awaiting the launch.
Balmain has in recent years become a favorite of the social-media elite. Kim Kardashian and her siblings, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, are routinely spotted wearing the brand, and hanging out with creative director Olivier Rousteing, who is the most-followed French designer on Instagram. For the collaboration’s launch, Rousteing and H&M promoted the hashtag #HMBalmaination.
The H&M collaboration brings his expensive designs, which have earned some unflattering reviews from fashion critics, within reach of the millions who follow him and his coterie on their screens every day. But pieces still aren’t exactly cheap; some items, such as an elaborately beaded dress, cost more than $500.
Still, if you want to copy your favorite Insta-celebrity’s Balmain look, H&M’s version is easier to buy than the genuine article, and even if it is a compromised version, that’s hardly the point.
“I really want to get a beaded dress for my 18th and then put it out all over Instagram,” one shopper told the Guardian. “Although of course then I’ll never be able to wear it again. Not once it’s been on social media.”