Will four designers prove just as good as one in Target’s new exclusive collection?

Discussion
Source: Target
Aug 10, 2021

Target is known for its limited-edition collections from well-known fashion designers and brands. The retailer, however, is taking a different approach with its Fall Designer Collection, which will feature a diverse lineup of more than 180 modern and classic pieces from four separate designers.

“For the past 20 years, our guests have continued to express excitement when we introduce them to new and emerging designers from across the globe, all at an incredible value,” Jill Sando, chief merchandising officer, Target, said in a statement. “This fall, we’re building upon that legacy and bringing together four dynamic and highly-regarded designers to introduce a collection of inclusive, on-trend and timeless fashion staples to re-energize guests’ wardrobes for the fall season.”

The new lineup features fashions from Rachel Comey, Victor Glemaud, Sandy Liang and Nili Lotan, four designers with their own distinct styles.  Items in the collection include both modern and classic designs with prices ranging from $15 to $80 and most under $50.

The Rachel Comey collection will include casual clothing and accessories, including denim handbags, leather blouses and sweater pants. “The collection is filled with easy, wearable styles that work for all lifestyles, which aligns perfectly with our mission and this celebratory milestone,” said Ms. Comey.

Victor Glemaud, according to Target, has made use of “multicolored stripes and color blocking with thoughtful details to create vibrancy within everyday versatile pieces designed for all people.”

Sandy Liang’s “sweet-meets-sporty” designs are found in items such as smocked dresses and patchwork fleece. Ms. Liang said her designs are “inspired by nostalgic moments” from her childhood.

The minimalist jumpsuits, slip dresses and outerwear from Nili Lotan are said to combine
“European simplicity” and a “‘70s Americana.” Ms. Lotan said she designs to help those wearing her clothes “tell a complex story” of who they are as individuals.

If Target’s past experience with Jason Wu, Lily Pulitzer, Levi Strauss, Marimekko, Missoni, Vineyard Vines and many others is repeated, the chain’s customers will be on social sites in no time complaining that the new merchandise is out-of-stock in their local stores and online and is being sold at much higher scalper prices on eBay and other platforms.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Target’s use of four designers instead of one name brand make any difference to the final sales results of the limited-edition line? Why is Target able to succeed with its limited-edition lines and why aren’t other retailers able to do the same?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
" The clothing is at Target and consumers trust Target for their fashion choices. That’s huge."
"Tactically it reduces reliance on name brands, which means more favorable deal terms and margins. Smart and bold move."
"The fact that they’d contract even one designer is the kind of thing that’ll keep their brand on a different level from their direct competitors."

Join the Discussion!

14 Comments on "Will four designers prove just as good as one in Target’s new exclusive collection?"


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Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

This is Target becoming increasingly confident of its fashion sense, and trying to make a name of its own. If it succeeds on its own terms, the intrinsic value of the Target brand increases enormously. Tactically it reduces reliance on name brands, which means more favorable deal terms and margins. Smart and bold move.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Expanding the assortment of limited-edition, exclusive apparel lines to four designers is a smart strategy. With four unique styles, it will appeal to a broader set of shoppers and will make it more intriguing for shoppers to visit the store to see the new collections. This strategy is also a good testing environment to see which collection is most successful and may have a longer life.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

I love the diversity of the designers for the limited edition line but let’s be clear. The allure of the limited edition collections was all about a taste of luxury at a great price point. Well known, exclusive, aspirational brands are what drive customers to buy into the limited collection.

Missoni, Jason Wu, Anna Sui, Rodarte, Altuzarra and Philippe Starck — these are the designers that got fashionistas (including myself!) to scour every Target in a 100-mile radius to grab at least one coveted item from the limited collection.

Could other retailers do the same? Definitely. The key is understanding what the customer wants and what their aspirational brands are. Partnering with the right brand is the key but truly understanding your customer is the secret sauce.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

There are so many smart things going on here. It’s a treasure hunt. It’s a test probing for new attitudes and aesthetics to pursue. It’s reinforcing Target as a platform for new fresh product in a high profile manner. (Trying to remember the last time a department store did something similar on a national basis.) And maybe most important are the words “limited-edition.” Shop now, buy now or it’s gone forever. It’s all about creating and managing scarcity. This limited-edition thinking may be one of the most under utilized strategies in apparel merchandising. It’s not about fast fashion, it’s about smart fashion.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I had to Google those four designers but that’s okay. I haven’t exactly been on top of my fashion game the past 18 months.

The Target ad photos are beautiful and I think shoppers will be excited to see these collections. And that’s the thing: The clothing is at Target and consumers trust Target for their fashion choices. That’s huge. I doubt the apparel would cause as much buzz or anticipation at any of Target’s competitors’ stores.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Given that Target will likely merchandise and market this well, I do not see it making a tangible difference from past collections. I also think the focus on renewing closets with interesting designs is smart given that apparel sales are now coming back strongly. And the reason Target is able to do limited-line editions when so many other retailers aren’t is because Target is a superior operator. Designers feel confident that Target will execute well, deliver the right customers, create interest, and help elevate their brands.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

I’m not at all sure about “sweater pants” but Target’s limited edition designer collections have always generated excitement. If one is good, four are better. Let’s see if these collections can boost Target’s fashion fortunes.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

This is walking the talk. What’s more inclusive than a group collaboration of diverse design talent around one cohesive product curation? And the end result is a far more interesting fall collection for the shopper. My only concern is how they are going to top this next year?

Jennifer Bartashus
BrainTrust

Target has been successful with designer partnerships in the past because it is very good at understanding and listening to its customers and offering the right balance of function and design. This strategy has helped drive the success of so many of the company’s own brands, and is clearly influencing which designer partnerships it is currently pursuing. These four designers clearly have elements that Target is confident will appeal to various shoppers, and it is a smart strategy to have a broad reach to drive engagement and sales.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

The fact that they’d contract even one designer is the kind of thing that’ll keep their brand on a different level from their direct competitors. That and private label = #sosmart/modern, branded retail at its best. Is Target the new form of specialty retail? Methinks; yes.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Target has been widely successful with designer exclusives going back to the mid ’90s at least. Anyone still have a Michael Graves teapot or an Isaac Mizrahi handbag from Target? I like this approach because it offers a wider assortment of products in a very strong category for Target.
Target succeeds with designers where others do not because of decades of work making the Target brand a prestige brand in the discount segment. They know their guest, they know how to upsell them and they know how to pick designers and brands that will have appeal to their segment of the market. (And will agree to put their goods in a Target) The brands feel “right” in a Target store to the Target guest. This is not always the case for their competition. Full disclosure, I am wearing an old Mossimo t-shirt as I write this.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Good, smart move by Target. Combines the shift to casual leisure-ware with a touch of design exclusivity that should appeal to shoppers who need to up-level their dusty wardrobe that has been sitting in the COVID-19 closet for the last 18 months.

Christopher P. Ramey
BrainTrust

The allure to consumers of an unknown designer is limited.

On the other hand, for Target, having partners who don’t care about the price point, brand association, or distribution because their brand has limited awareness makes the campaign far easier/faster to create and more profitable for Target.

The allure of higher margins and ease of execution is profound for Target. This is their path in the future.

Brian Kelly
Guest
1 month 13 days ago

Reduce the reliance upon off-price promotion.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
" The clothing is at Target and consumers trust Target for their fashion choices. That’s huge."
"Tactically it reduces reliance on name brands, which means more favorable deal terms and margins. Smart and bold move."
"The fact that they’d contract even one designer is the kind of thing that’ll keep their brand on a different level from their direct competitors."

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