Last year my friend dragged me in the wee hours of the day to SM Megamall to line-up for the 2014 H&M Collaboration with designer Alex Wang. At the time I didn’t really know what to expect; heck, I didn’t even know much about Alexander Wang for that matter.
We lined up at 5:30 in the morning and after browsing through the collection just the night before, I settled on getting, at the very least, the HMxAW sunglasses. 4 and a half hours in line later and all I got out of the whole collection was this…
This year, we promised ourselves, is going to be different.
For 2015, fast fashion retail giant H&M partnered with esteemed Parisian fashion house Balmain for their yearly collaboration and this time, they’re changing the sale mechanics a bit. A month or so before the public launch on November 5, H&M SM Megamall announced a one-day sales blitz to get a chance to be part of a private pre-event sale of the H&M x Balmain collection. Well, at the time they just said it was a VIP event and no other details were announced. Obviously, not wanting to miss out, we took a chance and entered. Lo and behold, fast-forward to November 2 and Unpacked.ph is in the private event.
It was extravagant to say the least. Celebrities, public figures, media and who’s-who in fashion & entertainment graced the event for what would be a sample of the public launch in November 5.
Booze, food and clothes, the H&M x Balmain VIP event had us astounded as celebrities walk in their H&M x Balmain outfits. But what got us stoked even further is that there was an advanced buying that’s happening.
Just like last year’s collab mechanics, people in the venue are grouped into groups and you each have a certain time limit to shop. They added a maximum piece cap for the VIP event so that more people get to enjoy these exquisite pieces.
The experience itself was surreal when you have to fight over clothes with people like Megan Young, Jake Cuenca or Phoemela Baranda. And trust us, despite everyone’s super chic outfits and their upper class demeanor, once people get into the buying area all gloves were off!
After 10 minutes of sheer pandemonium and panic-buying frenzy, you’d think we’d get any of the stuff we wanted? Nope. L I did get away with one item and I wouldn’t have gotten it if one of the H&M personnel hadn’t shoved this to me towards our last few minutes.
As with the HM x Alex Wang collab, menswear is the first category to be completely decimated, hence my friend and I decided to line up still for the public launch proper. We really wanted was the double-breasted HM x Balmain shirt and we thought that maybe with the VIP pre-event sale happening this time around it should diffuse the number of attendees on the event day proper, right? Hoo boy, were we so wrong!
Arriving at 3:30 in the morning (2 hours earlier than last year), we got to the line with more than 70 people in front of us. When the store opened by 8am there were hundreds.
Coming in on batch 4, the men’s shirt that we so desperately wanted is nowhere in sight! After 10 minutes of shopping, tired and desperately lacking sleep, we went away with a couple more accessories in hand, (miraculously) a jacket that my friend pulled out at the last minute and some pabilins (shopping requests) from friends who weren’t able to line up due to work obligations.
All in all, despite the frustrations of not getting the pieces you wanted, the unexpected purchases, and the frenzied buying behavior of the Filipino consumers, the H&M x Balmain is a rousing success and we’re hopeful that they open more stores to host the yearly collab selling in years to come!