Hype does funny things to people. Remember last year's H&M x Balmain collab? The fast fashion retailer's collaboration with Olivier Rousteing's house of glitz caused absolute mayhem when it released; after months of teasers and sneak peeks, people tore each other to pieces just to get a chance of copping some Kardashian-esque gaudiness on the low.
Even more ridiculous (and depressing) was what happened after the dust settled. Canny shoppers were flipping H&M x Balmain for pretty much the same price as real Balmain. One of the collection's sequined jackets went for $2,000 on eBay, around the same price as a similar piece from Balmain's Ready-to-Wear collection.
Given that Balmain's luxury clothing is crafted to extravagantly high standards in European ateliers, it was a pretty depressing turn of events — and shows just how utterly deranged people can get when it comes to limited edition clothing.
This year's H&M collaboration is with another Parisian house: KENZO. While the house isn't so affiliated to the Kardashian-Jenner axis of evil and its designers don't have the same superstar celebrity status as Olivier Rousteing, that hasn't stopped the reseller mayhem from kicking off a full two weeks before the collection's release on November 3.
A few entrepreneurial eBay users have put up key pieces from the collection already, at outrageous markups. The users ask customers to list their size upfront and state that purchases won't be shipped until release day, so it's likely these are just pre-orders from people who will be lined up way before stores open.
This tiger-patterned faux fur coat is listed for $899. If you don't mind its 360% markup from $249, you'll have to pay an additional $49 shipping. You can get a made-in-France metallic tiger-striped jacket from KENZO's mainline for $1,230.
This short dress, printed with some typically kaleidoscopic KENZO patterns, is going for $799, a 267% markup from its $299 retail price. You can get a similar number, crafted from silk and a jacquard wool blend from KENZO's mainline for $1,230.
These wild pink striped stiletto-heeled boots are on sale for $599, up 100% from their $299 retail. You can get some real KENZO ankle boots — albeit with a lower heel and less seizure-inducing pattern — for just $15 more.
It looks like this is just a few enterprising shoppers trying their luck, but the fact that people are even doing it is a sign of just how ridiculous the hype is around these sorts of collections nowadays. Hardcore Supreme fans often offer a "proxy" pre-order service for fellow community members on drop days, only with a much more tolerable markup of 20% or so.
H&M's fast-fashion collabs routinely cause mayhem when they go on sale (here's a brief history of the retailer's most hysteria-inducing link-ups) because they produce way, way less product than what they know they can sell. That's a pretty common tactic these days, but when you combine it with the opportunity to buy luxury names at a heavily discounted price, it's the perfect storm — no doubt you'll be hearing a lot about H&M's latest partnership when it drops November 3 — good luck getting your hands on a piece.
In the meantime, here's A Brief History of H&M's Biggest Fashion Collabs.