Photo: The Straits Times

Floral-patterned paper bags were triumphantly toted out of H&M's Orchard Building outlet last Thursday (Nov 2) morning by shoppers who managed to get their hands on coveted items from the fast-fashion chain's collaboration with Erdem. Items that sold out the fastest included backpacks, hoodies, clutches and brooches. By midday that Thursday, several of the women's dresses and men's shirts had also sold out.

The first person in the queue for Swedish high-street chain H&M's latest designer collaboration with the British luxury fashion brand had been waiting in line outside Orchard Building since 11.30am on Wednesday (Nov 1).

By 8am on Thursday, when the doors swung open, the number of shoppers in the queue had swelled to 120. Many of them had joined the queue the day before. However, the numbers were less than half of those who queued for last year's Kenzo x H&M collection, which saw 350 people in the queue that began forming two days before the launch. The Balmain x H&M collection in 2015 attracted a line of 500 by opening time and sold out within four hours.

Ms Abby Wee, communications and press manager for H&M Singapore and Malaysia, says: "Every designer collaboration is different each year and we do not compare against past collaborations. We always look forward to exciting and surprising our customers with such collaborations."
 
 
 
Photo: The Straits Times
 
At 6am last Thursday, for queue-management reasons, those in line were divided into groups of 30 and given bracelets with allocated time slots. Each group had 10 minutes to shop the collection and each shopper was limited to one piece a style. The first group rushed into the store amid cheers from H&M staff, who handed out shopping bags. Some shoppers had a strategy, gathering armfuls of clothes before retreating to a corner to shortlist their items. Others browsed at a leisurely pace. The first person in line, a 23-year-old science student who declined to be named, got his hands on six items, including dresses and blouses for his friends, as well as a hoodie for himself.

His friends had queued with him during the night, but had to leave for work in the morning. He spent just over $1,000. "They wanted the items, so I thought I'd do them a favour as I don't have anything on today," he said, adding that the group had queued together for the Balmain x H&M collection in 2015, but were not the first few in line then.

 

 

H&M started collaborating with designers in 2004, beginning with German designer Karl Lagerfeld. It has since launched at least one collection a year. The designer-collaboration trend is now de rigueur, as brands try to create hype and reach wider and more varied audiences. Other high-street and streetwear brands such as Uniqlo and Supreme also recently paired up with high-fashion designers such as JW Anderson and Louis Vuitton respectively.

The new 82-piece H&M collaboration collection by Canada-born, British-Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu consists of accessories and womenswear featuring his signature black lace and floral motifs and, for the first time in his repertoire, menswear. The collection also launched last Thursday at H&M Ion Orchard, as well as online at www.hm.com. The second shopper in line at Orchard Building was Mr Afif Barker, 23, who joined the queue at 2.30pm on Wednesday.

 

 

A post shared by H&M (@hm) on

 

The administrative executive is a fan of Moralioglu and wanted to be the first to check out the designer's first foray into menswear. "It's my first time queueing this long for anything. The 18 hours were very challenging," he says. He had come prepared for the wait, armed with portable chargers and a mobile device filled with downloaded movies. In the store, he splurged $785 on a hoodie, two shirts, a pair of trousers and floral-print shoes. "I'll wear them to work tomorrow," he says.

Behind him in the queue was 28-year-old hotel executive Diniy D. Hamzah, who had arrived at 3.30pm on Wednesday, intent on buying a short-sleeved floral shirt because "you're not going to see a lot of guys pulling it off". He ended up spending $512 on the shirt, as well as a floral pyjama top, a pair of trousers and two pairs of socks. "The 17 hours of queueing were worth it," he says, adding that during that time, he was able to peek into the store to ascertain the exact location of the items he wanted.

There was only one disappointment: Only four of the backpacks were on sale and all were snapped by the time he had found the shirt he wanted. "But it's okay. I got the shirt," he says.

 

This article was first published at The Straits Times.

 

ALSO READ: 10 OF THE MOST STYLISH WINTER HOLIDAY MUST-HAVES FROM UNIQLO’S NEW LIFEWEAR COLLECTION