In Europe and Asia, the lines stretched around the block. There were fights and scalpers, and shoppers who slept outside in the cold for the chance to be the first in line for Versace’s bargain designs for H&M. As American stores prepare for their own Versace debut at 8 a.m. Saturday, fashion-lovers worry that only the most dedicated (or insane) shoppers will have a chance at snagging a piece of the collection.
Their fear isn’t unfounded. Witness the mayhem that ensued earlier this year when Target debuted its Missoni collaboration. Stores across the country were cleaned out of most items within 15 minutes, and Target’s Web site crashed. Within days, Missoni items showed up on eBay for exorbitant prices. “This was Missoni mayhem,” Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, told the Associated Press. “This is unprecedented.”
H&M is working hard to prevent the mob scene that Target shoppers endured by setting boundaries to discourage hoarding and bad behavior. According to Fashionista, the first 280 female shoppers in line will receive color-coded wristbands. The wristbands designate the time that shoppers are allowed to be in certain sections of the store, with a 15-minute window for each section. H&M isn’t counting on a big rush on their men’s collection, so male shoppers won’t need a wristband. Once the first 280 shoppers are finished, the store will open up to all other customers.
To keep shoppers from hoarding, there is an item limit: “Every customer can buy from the entire collection, but with a limit of purchasing a maximum of two pieces per product, i.e. not more than two sizes (shoes/garments) or pieces (accessories) per product per customer. The shopping limit covers the entire Versace for H&M collection. Your place in line does not guarantee any items from the Versace for H&M collection,” the guidelines say.
It’s hard to say if these rules will do much to deter a frenzy, though, if the European and Asian stores are any examples. The collection debuted there a day earlier, and two people were injured in a fight over clothing in a Hong Kong store. When one of the 300 women waiting in line was accused of line-cutting, she left and allegedly returned with two muscular men who beat up the two security guards, according to the Hong Kong Standard.
In Britain, Dubai and Beijing, many stores sold out of their collections within 30 minutes, and clothing is already ending up on eBay, according to Marie Claire.