You might have heard that disposable clothier H&M and haute couture fashion house Balmain have teamed up to produce a line of reasonably-priced (and questionably-styled) clothing.
The line, H&M x Balmain, is a fusion of what the two brands do best: high fashion styles and low, low prices. A regular Balmain leather jacket, for example, can cost as much as $4,000 after tax. An H&M x Balmain leather jacket with faux fur lining, however, will only run you from $350–$550.
As much of a steal as the H&M x Balmain line might seem at first glance, it's not without its costs. Namely: You'll have to do battle with hoards of crazed, fashion-obsessed deal hunters if you actually want a piece from the collection.
People aren't just excited about these clothes. They've gone downright insane over them:
People began camping out to get into H&M stores around the world last night in hopes that they'd be one of the lucky few to be able to snatch up whatever piece of couture they could.
One does not just walk into H&M to purchase some Balmain. One must fight for it. Multiple videos from different H&M locations show people elbowing one another and fighting over the "premium quality" garments.
As is often the case with hot-ticket, deal-busting sales like this, many of the people who were savvy and vicious enough to buy the clothes at retail have quickly taken to eBay to turn a profit.
All jokes aside, Jozen makes a salient point about what this guy referred to as "The Great H&M Balmain Riots of 2015." On release days for the newest pair of Jordans or LeBrons, sneaker stores are routinely patrolled by police officers ready to diffuse violent situations. Today's H&M x Balmain release, by comparison, was largely devoid of a police presence despite the fact the level of anticipation.
One could argue that an H&M shopping event might not be as dangerous as a sneaker drop date, but that argument would be both somewhat racially-charged and ultimately incorrect.
#Balmania, as the chaos has been lovingly nicknamed (and hashtagged), took a decidedly darker turn at the Oxford Circus H&M location in London, just blocks away from the retailer's flagship store on Regent Street. People who'd lined up and slept in the cold found themselves edged out and intimidated by a literal gang of shady figures.
“They are professional gangs, you know, and this is a strategy they have preplanned,” a hopeful student who'd traveled all the way from China told The New York Times. "They get in first, buy up all the product, then flog it for five times the price on eBay. They are scary men, and I don’t want to get in their way.”