My experience shopping balmain x h&m

Photography: Lindsey Thoeng

Since 2004 when H&M had the first designer collaboration (with Karl Lagerfeld), the event have become an annual exceptional date for us - the people who cannot miss the opportunity to buy high-end-fashion for fast-fashion price. Although the prices of the collaboration items are usually way higher than the usual H&M price, it is still an amazing deal to get a Balmain dress for only $149 - That is exactly how much I paid for this Green Velvet Dress.

I have watched videos, and seen photos of some crazy situations at H&M stores where all the excited costumers is roughly trying to purchase the Balmain collection at the same time. I am talking about hundreds of fashionista consumers + people who are going to sell the clothes on ebay for triple of the price, running, pushing, screaming, and basically “fighting” to get the best pieces. It’s like a Spartan race where the fittest wins the golden Balmain belt.

But for me the experience was totally calm and under control. I was at H&M last year for the Alexander Wang x H&M collaboration, which gave me the experience and knowledge of how it works. So at this time I was basically an expert on getting my clothes.

I went to the H&M store in Soho. I chose that particular store because I figure it would be less busy than the more touristic ones at Times and Herald Square. I arrived at the store at 6:15 am. I know it sounds super early, but I have to go to class and wake up around that time anyways, so for me it was not that hard. It was actually much better to miss my class and go shopping for Balmain instead of going to school. Wish I could do that every week haha.

When I arrived at the store I was among the 40 first people in the line. Then when it was 7am, the H&M’s staff started distributing bracelets with the time to enter the store and shop. Each group of 10 people had 10 min to go inside and get what they wanted. I had already done my homework and created a list of what I wanted, and also backup options, so my 10 min were more than enough. Since I was among the 40 first in the line, most of the clothes were still available in all size. Lucky early bird me.

My favorite item is for sure the Green Velvet Dress, but I also love this black top. The quality of the material, and the cuts are very well made, and give the pieces the luxurious effect. They don’t feel or look like any regular dress and top. They are Balmain.

Besides looking good in the body, and looking so fancy, I love how most of the collaboration is totally wearable! If I had more money, I could buy even more stuff and I am sure I would wear them. Olivier Rousteing did a fabulous job preparing the collaboration.  He was a H&M boy himself and shopped the Karl Lagerfeld collaboration in 2004. He understands how meaningful it is for us to be able to own such marvelous clothes. Thank you Olivier!

Raquel Paiva

Brazilian fashion and lifestyle blogger based in NYC