Déjà Queue: H&M x Erdem Shopping Spree Vs. Nutcracker Ticket Line

By 3 November 2017

Are the queues that people spent hours waiting in yesterday really that different?

If there were real-time images of Zagreb yesterday, they would be filled with people waiting in two lines.

No, not your usual Petrinjska or any other “administrative-bureaucratic black hole that you get sucked into as soon as you need a document” type of lines, but two lines of people waiting for very specific things.
Any wild guesses? Were they waiting for free stuff? Did Brad Pitt visit? Were there any cool jobs that people really wanted to apply for? A sports match?

Nope, people were waiting to buy things.

In one corner, at Cvjetni Square, people started lining at 6 a.m. for the Erdem x H&M collection. Three hours before the store opened, there were lines and lines of people waiting for a chance to grab a piece. Who is Erdem and are his things so cheap that people would line that long just to grab something of his? Nope, Erdem Moralioglu is a Canadian-Turkish fashion designer and latest in the line of haute-couture designers to collaborate with the famous brand. Now, sure, if you consider the fact that an Erdem dress usually costs EUR 2,000, drAesses that now cost EUR 150 sound like a steal, but who are these mysterious Croats who have almost HRK 1,000 to spare, nay, wait for for three hours, I honestly cannot wrap my head around it. I don’t judge fashion-lovers, don’t get me wrong, and Erdem is great; I love fashion as much as the next guy, and most pieces were really pretty, but if we live in a country where most people struggle to make ends meet and cannot spare a kuna, how, and more importantly, why, is it possible for them to willingly sacrifice one fourth of their salary for a dress is beyond me. Some people travelled for eight hours (I kid you not) to buy a piece, and then you only got 10 (yes, ten) minutes to look around and get your piece. One day in and almost the entire collection is gone, both in physical stores and online.

Would they wait in line for a regular new collection by H&M? I doubt it.

Now, I know that this is not an exclusively Croatian thing, H&M’s website was down as soon as the collection was launched, but there is one main difference between Croats and other nations. If you remember, there was a fraction of the population that considered that buying cheap clothes designed by Heidi Klum at Lidl was shameful (remember the children who were being mocked a few months ago), but buying expensive clothes designed by Erdem at H&M is great and there is absolutely nothing shameful in waiting in line for three hours to get your hands on a piece? There won’t be anyone using the derogatory term Erdemići as they did with Lidlići.

In the opposite corner, people lining in front of the Croatian National Theatre to get the tickets for the Nutcracker, a ballet composed by Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky. Now, don't get me wrong, the Nutcracker is also hugely popular around the world and there are surely some people going there just to be seen, but, unlike the previous centuries, which is very unfortunate, theatres aren't really the centre of social life in Croatia. Cultural, sure, but social, not so much, at least when it comes to younger people. There was also a very disappointing study the results of which stated that two in three Croats don't attend cultural events. However, at HRK 90-160 these are not really cheap tickets for Croatian standards, so the question arises - are the queues that people spent hours waiting in yesterday really that different?

In my opinion, yes. The crucial difference between these two lines (one more surprising than the other) was the motive behind it – prestige, or lack thereof. I think that most people waiting in line for the Nutcracker did it because THEY wanted to see the ballet, while most people waiting for Erdem x H&M wanted OTHERS to see them wearing Erdem.

Obviously, we love being seen, spotted wearing this and that, featured on a streestyle blog, getting comments on our pretty clothes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that on an individual level – if it fills you with joy and if fashion is your calling, go and pursue it, I couldn’t be happier for you (and, hey, I'd love to join you because I really like fashion, too), but the overall feeling that we have to wear something expensive to feel validated in this country, even if it means borrowing money or buying everything in instalments (just take a look at your average Saturday-midday špica, or the Riva in Split) needs to go.

And we definitely need more Nutckracker queues.

Tagged under: zagreb