Last weekend I did go to Gothenburg for the Jimmy Choo x H&M collection launch! My friend Vivian has been counting down to the collab for months and I'd never been to a crazy, handbags-at-dawn opening before. Sounded like fun!!
I didn't go because there was something in the collection that I wanted SO much that I had to wait outside the store for hours to buy, but it's more like an event than a reason to shop. I'm over the eBay game and figured the majority of purchases would be sold on for profit already, so I wouldn't stand to gain anything. Plus anything extra I bought meant a person at the back of the queue couldn't get something!
How fascinating to be right in the thick of a fashion date, how many people would turn up? I went along with Vivian and we ended up getting a bus at 3.07am!? I had an exam the day before so I didn't sleep very much that night, then slept from around 8pm-1am and then got ready!! I found out that I will never be a prepared person. Sure I will over-pack, but things like touching up makeup pass me by because if I am prepared to spent half an hour on it in the first place, why won't it stay there for more than a few hours! So I am disheartened to sit pretty and bring a million comforting and refreshing things because I'm annoyed I must in the first place. Maybe that didn't make sense?
My point was that I nearly went in a floor length dress and heels, then thought OK no this will fail, and went for flat thigh high boots instead. The job was to grab shoes, not so much to gain fashion points after all. Would there be anyone to impress at 5am?! Getting ready in the middle of the night didn't make me feel any need to especially dress up.
We got to Gothenburg at around 4am, where there are two huge H&Ms, the nearest being in the Norstan mall. This was more appealing as it could possibly mean waiting inside, whereas sitting on the street at the other store in Swedish weather might have been pretty torturous! We walked around the huge mall in the deserted town centre, feeling quite confused and a little apprehensive as to whether there would be any other queuers or if we'd get to the right place in time. At one of the last entrances down by the car park, we saw two girls with big, big bags, aha! Turns out one knew the guards and at 5.30am they would open this door first. One lady was a fashion designer, the other a student, and a few minutes later we were joined by a dedicated boyfriend. I certainly wouldn't get out of my bed at 3am for a boyfriend's shoes!!
Finally 5.30 came around and true to their word, our door was opened! We briskly walked through the mall to the massive H&M where they'd made a temporary queue with tape, and were putting up heavy metal barriers from the door; the kind you get along the front of a gig. There was about ten girls waiting by another door nearby, waving and calling to see how we got in! They all rushed in a minute later and we prepared for the wait.
Ah these days aren't for the faint-hearted. I almost believed nobody would turn up but people kept joining the queue constantly and soon there were fifty people. The international rules were that 160 wristbands would be given out, with twenty people allowed to grab accessories every ten minutes. Rumours were circulating that you could only buy one of every style/one of every item/one of every product, no one really knew what would happen! What would the shopping bags be like? Would we get a gift for being first? Would there be ten minutes for the clothes too, or just the shoes? Vivian had a huge list of printed pictures to buy for friends in Taiwan and was memorising the styles and sizes in military fashion; it was a careful operation! I didn't meet anyone who was buying to sell, but maybe you wouldn't admit it if you were?
It's not so fun when everyone around is speaking Swedish so you can't hear the general conversations. The talk in our area was all Jimmy Choo though, and as the queue lengthens, the hysteria starts to go to your head. I began to wonder if I should buy two, three, or ten pairs of shoes? Maybe a bag too, and of course the accessories, they're just so cheap! Of course none of it was cheap, but you had tunnel vision the prices and queuing for hours had to be worth it! As we moved to the main queue with the barriers, the security started getting tighter and we weren't allowed to leave the queue! The prospect of three more hours without going to the loos wasn't a happy one, and when H&M staff started to arrive in their bright blue tshirts and offered out drinks and sweets, we couldn't take them! Vivian and I kept shouting 'please speak English!!!' because all the crowd announcements were in Swedish of course. We gathered accurate info from asking others about the wristband system, and the first five of us were proud to receive ours with numbers on. Then it was just waiting. Waiting and more waiting. Ahhh so annoying! Shoppers started entering the mall after 9am and looking totally confused at this huge queue. The first lucky 160 people had arrived by at least 6.30am but there were still people queuing right outside the doors. This photo is from a newspaper, there were a few photographers and journalists around but not many.
Here's a video of us rushing in the store and the chaos ahead! We all walked in at 10am on the dot and all the H&M staff lined the entrance and applauded, it was so cool! I totally bypassed all the clothes and went straight to the escalator up to the accessories. Normal shoppers were in the store too so it was hot and crowded, with most people coming up to see the commotion upstairs and stare at the accessory corner. As you can (sort of) see, there were just piles of the shoes in their gorgeous boxes; it was just a case of pushing and grabbing! We had to wait another fifteen minutes before edging closer into the line and then suddenly the floodgates opened and we were in!! One boy even fell over! It was calm for a second and then it was a mad dash to get around the tiny area and grab boxes in your size. The H&M staff were plentiful and more than helpful. They were asking you which sizes you wanted and which styles and if you needed help carrying things. You were handed huge shopping bags so I threw in the pair of shoes I wanted, snatched some bracelets, and then grabbed a few things for Vivian. It was tempting to pick more things while you had the precious time! As we were waiting in the queue, things became more and more appealing, but I refrained and didn't buy a massive amount. Vivian needed about ten pairs of shoes and then bags and accessories so she was checking lists and sorting through boxes, and I realised I'd had the mind blank I was worried about and picked up a wrong size, so I dashed back to get that, and then the time was up and we shuffled our way out!
Most people were sorting their boxes in a corner of the store now, discarding what they didn't want after a real life inspection and choosing what were keepers. The store was jam packed with shoppers and it was so noisy and hectic. I was so sick of that colour of blue by the end of it! Some more of the Taiwanese girlies had came earlier and they joined the accessories queue and helped Vivian buy different styles. We were in the store for nearly an hour and a half, despite only technically shopping for ten minutes. They were very strict that if you wanted something else or to swap something, you could definitely not go back in. We bustled our way to the long queues at the counter, barely able to carry our loads, and Vivian spent a fortune! Hold on, I spent a fortune too, why am I buying £100 shoes?! Haha!
Here are all Vivian's bags! Haha only joking, these are all the bags of the first five people, as we saw the other three outside after. You can see the shoes I got at the end of the video. I've gathered a few collectible things over the past year, like some of the yellow Selfridges things and a few unwrapped Vogues, and I'm happy for the shoes to sit as a spectacle. Maybe I'll wear them one day. I wore the bling-tastic bracelets with a velvet dress to a club on Thursday and they felt totally fabulous, just the right kind of sparkle without being toooo tacky because they're so chunky. I don't know what's going on with my style!