How to survive the H&M x Versace launchIt is already a given that even before the doors of H&M open on the morning of November 17, there will be a snaking queue of weary-but-excited people outside the store.

After all, this is the first H&M designer collaboration that Singaporeans will actually get to experience on home ground since the Swedish retailer’s grand opening in Singapore on September 3.

Even if the pure adrenaline rush of being one of the first few people in the world – November 17 in Asia comes a good eight hours before London and 13 hours before New York – to get hold of the hotly anticipated collection isn’t enough to get crowds lined up all the way to the next street, the idea of owning something Versace should be impetus for utter chaos and madness come Thursday.

H&M has revealed that the store will open slightly earlier on Thursday, at 8am to be exact, but there will be a respite for queuers at 7am.

Store staff will be on hand to give out different coloured wrist-bands to shoppers which will act as queue-numbers, so as to help determine the time they will be able to enter the store later.

As such, groups of 20 people will be allowed into the store and the designated area at any one time, and be given a strict 10 minutes to shop. However, once the 10 minutes are up, customers will be allowed to browse the rest of the store for as long as they like.

There’s more. To be fair to everyone else in the queue, shoppers will only be allowed to purchase one piece per design from the collection.

We foresee that a good measure of help and advice will be needed to guide even the hardiest shopper through the Versace for H&M frenzy, so here are five tips to help you survive this phenomenon.

#1 Bring a friend
Since you can only get one piece per design, you won’t be able to help your friend buy the dress you both are eyeing, no matter how helpful you feel. Do whatever it takes to convince a friend to come along; at least you’ll have a companion for the long night. If all fails, strike up a conversation with the lonely and bored people in the queue. Besides making a new fashion-mad friend, you’ll realize how “helpful” this new friend will be later on. Refer to #3.

#2 Know yourself
If you don’t know your H&M size by now, you probably aren’t a regular H&M shopper. Be prepared for the battle by knowing by heart your H&M size for tops, dresses, bottoms, shoes and jackets, so you won’t waste any of that precious 10 minutes trying on things.
It will also help things along if you know well what looks good on you. If you’ve never been able to rock a shift dress, don’t bother buying the by now well-known black studded leather shift dress, no matter how gorgeous it is.

Also, if you aren’t the kind of person who can carry off a bold alligator or palm print anything, stay away from those pieces and focus on the print-less items instead. If its going straight to the back of your closet, forget about buying it.

#3 Suss out your competition
As in any war worth fighting for, check out your competition. Since you are entering the store in groups of 20, check out approximately the 10 people ahead of and behind you.

Examine, with a critical eye, what they’re wearing, what hairstyle they have, what bag they’re carrying. That way, you’ll know who is likely to go after that studded leather jacket you’re after, and therefore, who to beat to the racks.

Granted, this might not be that accurate since these people, who might otherwise be Sartorialist-worthy subjects, are likely to be dressed down for the long wait but it is always worth a shot. Your best bets are the two people directly in front or behind you as they are bound to chatter excitedly (on the phone or otherwise) to someone about what they want to get. Listen and keep it stored away for future (8am) use.

#4 Make a list
Look through all the photos and prices of the pieces from the collection before Thursday. You can do so below.

Decide how many pieces you want (we know, its hard) and rank them in order of preference. Ask for advice from friends, family and anyone you trust. Once you’ve decided on your ranked list, stick to it and try not to change your mind when you’re actually looking at them in real life.

Remember, indecision wastes time, time you could use to pick up more items. If still in doubt, just purchase it. You can always gift it as a Christmas present to someone you know who might like it.

#5 Be early
This might sound like common sense but it would be foolhardy to think arriving at the store at 5am would put you near the front of the line. Ardent fashion-crazy fans would have started lining up the night before, and this is Singapore, the land of queues, so revise whatever time you thought would be good and go at least three hours earlier.

We put our bets on 11pm the night before if you want to end up somewhere near the middle. For front of the line, try 8pm.