Is Target’s limited-edition collab with Levi’s a sign of bigger things to come?

Discussion
Source: Target promotional video
Jan 28, 2021
George Anderson

The latest limited edition designer collection offered by Target will come from Levi Strauss & Co.

The Levi’s for Target line will be made up of more than 100 home and lifestyle products as part of its very first partnership in the home category and will feature such items as pillows, quilts and tableware. Levi’s is also including clothing items for humans and pets in the collection, such as a trucker jacket, sleepwear and pet apparel and accessories, like a dog bed. Pricing ranges from $3 to $150 per item, with most being sold under $25. Target customers will have contactless purchasing options through delivery, Drive Up and in-store Order pickup.

Levi’s has set an aesthetic goal for the line of providing comfortable and durable pieces intended to promote sustainable living practices. The denim brand’s lineup will feature more sustainable certifications and elements than any other of Target’s previous designer collaborations. Items in the collection made with recycled glass, for example, bear Fair Trade USA, GOODWEAVE and FSC Wood certifications.

“Strategic partnerships like our work with Levi’s have long been a key part of Target’s success, allowing us to offer our guests the very best national brands alongside our incredible assortment of owned brands,” said Jill Sando, chief merchandising officer, Target, in a statement. “Through this partnership, we’re able to offer a collection of items guests can’t find anywhere else, with pieces that exemplify the values and design prowess of both the Target and Levi’s brands.”

This project represents the latest deepening in the relationship between the two companies. Target has sold Levi’s lower-price Denizen jeans in its stores for decades.

In 2019, Target began carrying Levi’s premium red tab 505 and 511 jeans at 50 stores located near college campuses and urban centers after a successful 20 store pilot. The retailer has announced that it will add curated red tab displays to 500 stores as the relationship between the two parties has proven to be mutually beneficial. Both the Denizen and red tab items are sold nationally on target.com.

The Levi’s for Target line will launch in most Target stores and online on Feb. 28.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What has made Target so successful with its designer collaborations in the past? Will it achieve the same or a higher level of success with the Levi’s for Target collection?

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Braintrust
"Target is simply amazing at presentation, scarcity-marketing and picking amazing partners that traditionally slant toward being a legacy brand, with a modern sensibility..."

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13 Comments on "Is Target’s limited-edition collab with Levi’s a sign of bigger things to come?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Finding great product lines has been a hallmark of Target’s success – this new one with Levi’s is yet another example. Target has been very careful to select quality partners and cultivate the relationships, and that in part explains their success. I expect that the Levi’s collaboration will be as successful if not more than other launches because of the high brand equity that Levi’s enjoys. I have no doubt this will be another winner for Target and Levis.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Designer collaborations are an important part of Target’s trading calendar. Their partnership with popular brands to provide exclusive product is a genuine point of differentiation that stimulates interest. And the limited nature of the lines creates a sense of urgency that encourages people to buy. This year’s focus on home is sensible as this is currently a big area of growth. From what I have seen on promotional materials, the range looks attractive and I think it will do well.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

I think Target has been successful with collaborations with designers because they carefully curate the assortment that is unique to the Target customer. This collaboration will no different. Another success for Target.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Target’s past success with these collaborations has been based on the simple idea of creating and managing scarcity. They created access to a brand that hadn’t existed before, and would not exist for long. FOMO. They made in an event, maybe even an experience for some. And not a sale event, but a celebration of brand and product event. This mindset creates broad and long term opportunities for Target.

And look at the platform Levi’s now has to explore and exploit incredible brand product extensions. This is a huge testing event for Levi’s that can fuel years worth of their own brand growth. Talk about a win/win!

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

As noted, these collaborations have been successful to date for Target. These differential advantages give customers permission to drive past Walmart or Bed, Bath & Beyond to visit a Target store. The same uniqueness of this collection will cause a potential customer to eschew a virtual visit to Amazon.com and instead click on Target.com.

Plus, the focus of the Levi’s line on home and lifestyle products is well timed during the pandemic, which has resulted in consumers making investments in their homes.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

My grandkids call me “triple denim.” Levi’s jeans, Levi’s shirts. Levi’s jacket. Would that qualify me as being Levi’s brand loyal?

In any case, I see this endeavor as has being quickly successful, but with no legs. Isn’t that how Target has been successful with their “designer” collaborations?

Christine Russo
BrainTrust

Target is simply amazing at presentation, scarcity-marketing and picking amazing partners that traditionally slant toward being a legacy brand, but also with a modern sensibility and Levi’s is no exception. I had no idea Levi’s did home and I’m guessing most people didn’t either, so this will surely shout it from the rooftop. Interesting to see “lifestyle” retail (a la the 2000s when brands sought to sell you their product from top to toe and home as well — think Ralph Lauren leading the way…) come back. With the wane in popularity of the Joanna Gaines aesthetic of shiplap and farm-vibe, Levi’s home collection has an opportunity to strike.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

Target wrote the script for successful limited-edition collaborations back in the day then their Missoni home line broke the web. This is another example of curated products that appeal to Target’s core customers — high-quality, known-brand, unique and the right combo of aspirational and useful. And that they’re only available for a limited time will drive demand even higher.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Target’s success with designers has been the fact that they choose designers that people covet, but most of us can’t afford. The limited amount of time that these items are available make them even more attractive. You just have to look online to find the Balmain jacket that sold at Target for around $100 still being offered for ten times that on eBay.

Will a partnership with Levi’s work? Probably, especially if the items cannot be purchased anywhere else. Levi’s is an important brand but it’s also one that can be bought just about anywhere. Target will have to work it’s magic make this line extra special.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

It just occurred to me that Balmain was a partnership with H&M, not Target. That being said, Target’s collaborations with Missoni, Proenza Schouler and Lilly Pulitzer among others also made a splash with consumers and still have big resale value with online sellers. I still want that Balmain for H&M jacket but not for $1000!

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Designer collaborations based on quality, affordability and flair give Target a competitive edge. (I grew up watching Isaac Mizrahi on Fashion Television; I was thrilled when Target gave me access to his fashions without breaking my budget.)

This new collection injects excitement into Target’s assortment as demand soars for home, pet and sustainable goods. Levi’s for Target could outperform other collections by offering the right exclusive products at the right time and making a trusted brand more accessible.

David Adelman
BrainTrust

Target is a master at creating exclusive brand alliances while customizing its product assortments for its customer base. Philip Stark, Missoni, and Magnolia Home are just a few past partnerships that worked.

What could be better than controlling iconic brands for your stores? Not much. It allows Target to bring in new customers with these “exclusive” launches with well-known brands. Bravo once again, Target!

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Supposedly, it was Target’s background as the offspring of Dayton’s that instilled something more than the “price first” (last and always) ethos of discounters; perhaps, though as we’re now almost two decades from the divestiture of the latter, it’s becoming a strained argument.

Mostly they’re best at differentiation: rather than an “also ran” to Walmart, they’re seen as being in a class by themselves … figuratively and literally. It’s a trick that failed second fiddles like Wards (vs. Sears) and Gimble’s (vs. Macy’s) never mastered.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Target is simply amazing at presentation, scarcity-marketing and picking amazing partners that traditionally slant toward being a legacy brand, with a modern sensibility..."

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