Every now and then, famous brands come together for a collaboration to give its fans an exciting, often limited-edition range of products. The by-product: huge hype, and a frenzy amongst fans and new consumers alike.

Most recently, we saw the Omega x Swatch break the internet and nearly all social distancing rules in both MBS and ION on launch day. Here we recap some brand collabs that – both literally and figuratively – moved the market and caused quite a stir with long queues here in Singapore.

1. Omega x Swatch

Omega x Swatch
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Just this past weekend, middle-tier luxury timepiece brand Omega launched its much-anticipated collaboration with Swatch to offer its MoonSwatch range, causing quite a flurry of interest both in Singapore and abroad. The watches are based on Omega’s Speedmaster Professional model, also known as the ‘Moonwatch’ because it was previously worn by U.S. astronauts.

In the early morning of 26 March 2022, there were long lines of interested buyers – some of which had actually queued as early as 10pm the previous night – that had formed at two Swatch outlets at Marina Bay Sands and ION Orchard, well ahead of its opening time at 10am.

And yes, your eyes didn’t deceive you – police officers were actually called to be onsite, due to the high volumes of people congregating as well as how emotions were running high after the majority were unable to cop a piece due to the limited quantities available. 

Omega x Swatch 2
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Similar scenes were observed all around the world in major cities like Kuala Lumpur, Sydney and London, where even riot police were called in to break up fights amidst disorderly crowds.

Why did this collab blow up?

  1. The MoonSwatch is seen to be an entry-level piece to the Omega brand; each MoonSwatch retails for $372, whereas the original Speedmaster Professional that it is based on retails for upwards of $9,000. Naturally, the Omega x Swatch collaboration offers a much more palatable price range for the average consumer.
  2.  People also assumed that the range was exclusive and limited edition, with a potentially appreciating value.

What was most perplexing was that even though Swatch clarified that more quantities of the MoonSwatch range would be made available, this still didn’t deter people from leaving the queue.

Many watch enthusiasts came out of the woodwork to add that the watches hold no real production value  – mainly because of the huge gulf between the MoonSwatch and the average Omega timepiece in terms of quality of materials and build of the watch.

Plus, when the Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam had to weigh in on the behaviour of some Singaporeans, you know that the launch had made headlines for the wrong reasons.

Nevertheless, we’re pretty sure that both Omega and Swatch were very satisfied with the overwhelming reaction to the brand collaboration over the weekend, which is testament to their marketing efforts to create a new subcategory in the luxury timepiece market.

Fun fact: Omega is actually owned by Swatch Group.

2. Uniqlo x Kaws

Uniqlo x Kaws
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Back in 2019, another brand collab that sent many shoppers into a frenzy was a partnership between lifestyle clothing brand Uniqlo and American artist Kaws. The launch involved several of Kaws’ designs printed on Uniqlo t-shirts, and many were desperate to snag as many pieces as possible given the growing popularity of Kaws. 

While Uniqlo is hardly a luxury brand, the collaboration was marketed to be a one-off affair, which certainly bolstered the interest and hype over the product range.

Uniqlo x Kaws 2
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Even though Uniqlo had launched the Kaws collaboration range on its website to allow people to purchase them online, the huge volume of web traffic subsequently crashed the website just minutes after launch, leaving many frustrated and unable to get any items.

The next day, many Singaporeans flocked to Uniqlo outlets causing scenes of chaos as they pushed and shoved their way into stores to get their hands on as many pieces as possible. Some were even seen grabbing basketfuls of the same product, which we’re sure were listed on Carousell that very afternoon at a marked-up price.

3. Louis Vuitton x Supreme

LV x Supreme 2
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It’s not very often that you’ll see high-end luxury brands doing collabs. After all, most of these brands command a strong following, and so, theoretically, there isn’t any real need to further boost its presence by doing a collaboration. So, when Louis Vuitton (LV) announced a collaboration with Supreme back in 2017, it was a big deal.

According to reports, there were well over 300 people already waiting in line outside the LV outlet at ION Orchard on an early Thursday morning. What was amazing was that they weren’t there to purchase the collaboration items…they were there in hopes of acquiring a raffle ticket to allow them to gain access to the launch the following day.

LV x Supreme
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Straits Times 

What was even more amazing was that some fans had begun queueing outside the store a week before the launch, only to be turned away.

What did LV do right to get such an orderly crowd? Clear communication stating that only the first 350 in line would be issued a queue number generated at random via a raffle ticket. Once all the tickets were gone, the crowd quickly dispersed, leaving a few who stayed behind to try their luck.

Given the hype surrounding the LV x Supreme collab, interest in the items did not wane even after all the items were sold out. Overall, it was a very successful brand collaboration, and the lack of unruly scenes most certainly preserved the pristine and proper image of both brands.

4. Balmain x H&M

Balmain x H&M 3
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Another fashion label collab that made the headlines here in Singapore was French luxury fashion house Balmain’s collaboration with Swedish clothing brand H&M in November 2015. Both brands need no introduction, and the collab was well-timed given Balmain’s established fame as a fashion house and H&M’s growing popularity back then. 

Balmain x H&M
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Straits Times

Hundreds of shoppers had queued as early as three days prior to the launch, meaning they had actually camped overnight just to be one of the first few to be allowed into the store on launch day! Truly the gold standard when it comes to Singaporeans’ queueing prowess.

Balman x H&M
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To manage the queue, H&M staff had issued coloured wristbands to those in line, to denote a 10-minute shopping window that people were allotted. They also enforced purchasing limits for more popular items, by checking on shoppers’ bags at the exit. There was also little to no disorderly behaviour from the crowd, which was surprising given the pent-up hype for the collab.

The collab with Balmain was so successful that H&M launched another collab a year later; this time with another French luxury fashion house Kenzo. Similar to the Balmain launch, there were queues that formed up to two days prior, and even instances where people set up camping tents to shelter themselves from the elements. Regardless, it was an organised affair and many left happy with their purchases. We have to give H&M two thumbs up for their handling of a hotly-anticipated launch.

5. Uniqlo x BT21

Uniqlo x BT21
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MustShare News

When it comes to fan bases around the world, perhaps there is no other fan base that is more passionate and dedicated than K-pop fandom. Specifically, fans of K-pop group BTS, also known as the BTS Army.

In 2019, Uniqlo announced a brand collab with BT21, a range of cartoon characters that K-pop band BTS jointly developed with messaging app Line. Each design went for a very affordable $14.90, though customers were limited to purchase only one design.

Uniqlo x Kaws 3
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Singapore Atrium Sale

As expected, throngs of people promptly formed queues outside Uniqlo outlets throughout Singapore, with many eager to show their BTS love and grab a Uniqlo x BT21 tee.

Of course, this frenzy was not limited to Singapore alone. Regionally, snaking queues were also seen at Uniqlo outlets in Malaysia and Indonesia, which is testament to the overwhelming popularity of anything branded with the BT21 logo. Definitely a marketing win for Uniqlo here, who seems to have mastered the art of choosing the best brands to collab with.

BONUS: McDonalds x BTS

mcdonalds bts collabImage credit: MustShare News

Just to show how popular the BTS brand is, another example of a brand which partnered with them is McDonalds, who announced the BTS Meal in 2021 in over 50 countries. The collab saw the usual McDonalds packaging revamped in purple and adorned with both the McDonalds and BTS logo. 

There were also two limited-edition special sauces as well: Cajun and Sweet Chilli sauces. Of course, it was a huge success, considering how people were then putting the packaging – no food included – up for sale on Carousell.

Prominent brand collabs in Singapore

Overall, it’s clear that brand collaborations can do wonders for both brands, building on the hype that these collabs create especially when the products in question are limited-edition and limited in quantity. 

Well-planned collaborations are bound to give Singaporeans a good dose of FOMO, driving them to queue for hours on end for the chance of scoring something exclusive…or the possibility of selling it online at a 300% mark-up.


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