SINGAPORE: About 400 shoppers were in line to get their hands on pieces from the limited-edition Balmain x H&M collection, which launched on Thursday (Nov 5).
The queue for Thursday's launch at Orchard Building started almost three days early. The collection is also on sale at H&M's Ion Orchard store.
Snaking queues for the H&M x Balmain collection at 7.30am on Thursday. (Photo: Wendy Wong)
At 6am on Thursday, close to 200 people were in line at Orchard Building, but that number doubled nearing the 8am opening time. H&M Singapore staff had 420 wristbands to hand out - 30 for each 10 minute time slot - and by 7.20am, they were down to the last 20.
While the wristbands were fully given out before opening hours, an H&M spokesman said that other interested customers can walk in to see if there are pieces left on sale. He did not give the exact number of T-shirts available.
H&M staff said that while T-shirts were in stock, the rest of the Balmain x H&M items were limited to about 30 to 40 pieces each. Some "key pieces", such as a "leather jacket with emblem and embellishments" were limited to five pieces.
VIDEO: With less than 2 hours to go to the #HMxBalmain launch, the queue at H&M Orchard Building is about 200 strong. http://bit.ly/1WvfXhf (Video: Wendy Wong)Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Wednesday, 4 November 2015
When the doors opened at 8am, the first batch of shoppers rushed into the store grabbing items they wanted. Some customers printed out photos of the collection to identify the exact pieces.
Customers were only allowed to buy one item per design. H&M staff checked customers' shopping bags as they left to enforce this rule.
First in line was retail assistant Michelle Kwek.
"I've been queuing since 7pm on Monday till 8am the next day, when my friend took over me at 1pm. I didn't want to be second or third, (I had to be) first to ensure that I get what I want, a blazer," said Ms Kwek, 26.
"I'm very tired but excited, but scared I pass out, too. I didn't really have dinner."
Ms Kwek also came prepared with a plan to ensure that she got what she had her eyes on: "I'm working with the people next to me, so when we go in we'll help each other to grab all the items for all of us."
Ms Michelle Kwek with her haul from H&M Singapore on Nov 5. (Photo: Wendy Wong)
When she emerged from H&M two hours later, holding five bags of shopping, Ms Kwek said she got almost everything she wanted - including the blazer.
"I bought some items as gifts because the holiday season is coming," said Ms Kwek. "I spent S$3,000, more than I expected."
She added: "I was so tired just now, but now I'm very alert - and very confused. I just want to go home and eat something."
Ms Aabidah Bani, a 23-year-old student who was near the end of the queue, came to buy a black dress that celebrity Kylie Jenner was previously pictured wearing. "We came, (but the queue) is crazy. We love it but this is the best we could do."
Celebrity Kylie Jenner was pictured wearing this dress from the H&M x Balmain collection. (Photo: Wendy Wong)
Among the first few to complete their shopping sprees was Mr Hu Hao Ran, who was with a group of friends.
Mr Hu said: "We queued up from 8.30am yesterday. I feel tired. (I didn't manage to get everything I wanted because) size is wrong; (there are) not enough sizes." The student from China said he spent S$1,555 on eight items from the collection, including coats, earrings, as well as a bag for friends.
"It was worth it," he said.
Mr Hu Hao Ran (L) with friends after completing their purchase. (Photo: Wendy Wong)
Mr Eldrin, 23, went a step further and booked a room at the nearby Concorde Hotel in anticipation of the long wait outside H&M's Singapore flagship store.
"This is actually our first time queuing for such an event so we didn't know what to expect. People inside are crazy. We joined the queue at 6am yesterday, and there were already 30 people ahead of us," he said.
Mr Eldrin added that he was a little disappointed that he was unable to get his hands on a jacket he had been coveting as the size he was after was out of stock. "I spent about S$1,600," he said. "It was a fun experience."
Freelance fashion stylist Nat Tic said he joined the queue at 2pm on Wednesday. "We waited for so long. It was intense, everybody was crazy inside," he said, adding that he was not able to get his hands on every item he wanted.
Freelance fashion stylist Nat Tic, who spent about S$2,000 on the H&M x Balmain collection. (Photo: Wendy Wong)
"But I did get my backpack - there are only 12 pieces in Singapore." He spent about S$2,000 in all, he told Channel NewsAsia.
Outside the store, on the pavement lining Orchard Road, customers were seen exchanging or bargaining for the pieces and sizes they wanted, but were unable to obtain.
For all the patience it took for shoppers to get their hands on the limited edition items, some quickly found their way onto local online shopping portals.
A "multi-strand cuff" from the line was listed on Carousell for S$140 within minutes of the shop opening at 8am, with the seller also listing a similar necklace for S$160. On the same portal, another seller listed a green sequined dress - one of a handful available in Singapore - without a stated price. It retailed for S$299.