Large crowd lines up for Balmain collection at San Francisco's H&M

Thursday, November 5, 2015
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Hundreds of fashionistas have lined up outside a store in San Francisco for the release of the Bailman collection.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A large crowd stood in a long line outside the H&M clothing store in downtown San Francisco Thursday as a new designer line was unveiled, featuring a popular designer.

Designer Pierre Balmain is typically known for dressing celebrities at sky high prices, but he has now come up with a collection that is more affordable for the masses. Some of the items went on sale for more than $500, but there were also several items on sale for $100 or less.

It looked like a game show inside the store as shoppers scooped up as many pieces of clothing as they could in a limited amount of time.

They were racing to buy discounted pieces from the Balmain collection. H&M let in small groups at 15 minute intervals and only put out a certain amount of merchandise for each group. "We waited all night, so I wanted the white jeans and they had five out there," one man said.

The store put parameters in place to meet the demand because the line wrapped around the store.

Shannon Johnson arrived at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. "The Kardashians wear it, a lot of famous people wear it and he's a great designer," she said.

H&M has done designer capsule collections before, but this one appears to be the most popular.

The fact that Balmain dresses the Kardashians could explain the popularity because the famous family is very savvy at social media.

H&M's website crashed as soon as the collection went live. Pieces are already on eBay for twice the price.

Johnson plans to keep all her finds, all $1,200 worth. Her $299 dress will appear in her family portrait. Her new shoes are going out for date night. She is glad she slept on the sidewalk for this. "It was worth it. Yes, I got everything that I possibly wanted, so I'm satisfied," she said.

ABC7 News spoke with shoppers who said it's pretty picked over and that there's not a lot left, adding that the men's collection is gone.

In anticipation of a flood of shoppers, the company released specific rules:

1. Only the first 420 shoppers get access starting at 8 a.m.

2. Customers only get 15 minutes to shop.

3. Online shoppers are limited to one item per product.

4. In-store purchases can be returned for cash by Nov. 8. After the return deadline, only store credit will be received.

5. Online purchases can be returned if postmarked within three days of the package receipt.