In late June, I read that Versace was to collaborate with H&M for a fall collection. I missed Lanvin for H&M, and was not going to sleep through this one. After all the hype surrounding the launch following the lookbook release (and after seeing Bryanboy’s beguiling photos of his purchases after the launch party), I had decided to camp out. Outside. 11 hours. Freezing cold. Why? A skirt. A black, studded, silk skirt with Greek key detailing on the bottom had caught my eye. It’s classic Versace, but with less color. Just as daring. Just as bold. Just as dramatic. I fell in love. I had to have it. Foolish? Probably, but the prices for this skirt on Ebay would be at least double. That’s the justification I gave myself for doing this. I suspected it would be difficult, but I tend to be an optimist when I really want something. That said, I had inadvertently underestimated what it would take to complete this goal (read: I wore a sweater and Toms).
As a native Philadelphian, I felt prepared for the cold. I survived blizzards! I trekked through the worst of winds and slush! Apparently, I had also forgotten what it felt like to be in 32-degree weather…
With a shivering hand, I documented my progress step-by-step. Now you can experience the journey of occupying Walnut Street (for Versace):
9:33 pm: I am number seven in line!
10:30 pm: Qdoba/Cosi/Starbucks run. More people are here. The line is a little past Steve Madden now.
11:07 pm: Tensions are running high as a few employees come out. They tell us, as members of the first shopping group, what we want to hear: We are guaranteed what we want. They have only the junior collection at this store, but my skirt, and the coveted Kanye West jacket, is included. Everything is extremely limited. If you are number 21 in line, I’m sorry.
11:18 pm: I realize that I am one of a few people in the first shopping group who actually intends on keeping the clothes. The majority is here only to buy as much as they can and resell on Ebay. A woman here is unemployed, and could care less about the collection.
11:25 pm: I question my sanity, the nature of these collaborations: If they are to make high-end brands accessible to everyone, how fair is it that by the time the third group gets to shop, there is nothing left in stores, but pages full of Ebay listings with the collection priced at triple the intended cost?
12:00 am: More clothes. Racks and racks and racks scattered on the main floor.
12:37 am: Feet. Cold. Can’t. Feel.
1:09 am: Night crawlers. They’re out, and taunting us. One is ranting that we should make a rap video about this. He begins to rap…
1:45 am: A woman mistakes us for occupy protesters and screams, “Get a job! I have work tomorrow morning!” along with a few other choice expletives.
1:59 am: I can’t handle it. My legs are numb. I’m going to McDonalds for heat, and notice that the line has gotten considerably longer.
2:31 am: Naptime!
4:00 am: I wake up to the people around me negotiating. Everything is about the Kanye jacket. I suspect that this jacket will be completely gone in three minutes. I feel bad for a man I overheard further down in line (maybe in group 4) raving about how much he wants it. He won’t even get to see it.
4:40 am: Another McDonalds run.
5:30 am: The line is at Zara now.
6:23 am: Everyone’s standing up. Bleary, bloodshot eyes are now bright. The anticipation is palpable. The store is officially transformed into Versace wonderland.
7:00 am: One more hour! The security is insane. Extra people were hired to keep the peace. The women’s section is barricaded off, with a small opening on the side, guarded by another two security officers. No proper wristband, no entry.
8:06 am: Heaven. I grab everything I can put my hands on. Things that I don’t even want. Random boxes, scarves, and everything I think would be my size were draped on my arms (the bag was overflown). I had turned into a rabid animal. Everyone had. Heaps and heaps are brought with me into the dressing room, and I can’t help but smile at the disappointed faces glaring at me through the glass.
8:15 am: I have a ‘yes’ pile and a ‘no’ pile on the floor in the dressing room. The yes pile is much bigger than I anticipated, and the no pile included the one black skirt that I came here for…
One maxed-out credit card later, and I emerge from H&M victorious. A leather jacket, a red dress, two pairs of leggings, two scarves, and a skirt are mine, stuffed into two beautiful bags (I’m a bag hoarder). I walk down the street, and decide that it was worth it, upon seeing the line touch Juicy Couture at 17th.
It’s bittersweet. The small Versace section in my tiny closet here remains untouched. It was almost all about the challenge that made me want to do this.
Will I camp out at Jason Wu for Target? Maybe, but I’ll be sure to bring more layers.
~Sabreena M. Jackson