In the last decade, thousands of people have stood in line at Target stores around the country to get their hands on colorful, limited-edition items designed by big names like Missoni and Lilly Pulitzer. Those were chaotic events, with shoppers grabbing merchandise by the armload. Online, these same frenzied buyers crashed Target’s site multiple times. In case you missed out on the madness the first time around or are just ready to throw some elbows to get zigzag merchandise at a reasonable price, you’ll have your chance on September 14. Target just announced that it will be releasing a limited-edition collection of 300 products to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its design collaborations.
Twenty of its previous collaborations are included, including Missoni, Lilly Pulitzer, Jason Wu, Isaac Mizrahi and others, as well as homeware designers like Michael Graves and Philippe Starck. Prices will range from $7 to $160. According to the retailer, collections and items will vary from store to store, and guests will be limited to five items of any given size and color. So far, no images or hints have been released about which specific items from past collections will be available this time around. Target is also putting out a documentary and a Rizzoli coffee table book to commemorate the occasion.
Target was one of the first retailers to pioneer the collaboration model. The company has decreased the frequency of these collabs, but they still occur, most recently in May with the Vineyard Vines collection. Over the years, collaborative collections have become a regular occurrence at retailers at all price points, especially in the streetwear market, which relies on limited edition “drops” and frequent partnerships.
At its heart, these types of collections act as marketing for the designer brand involved, which is usually more aspirational or expensive than others Target sells. But mostly, it’s an incredible way for Target to get people into its stores and to get people talking about Target, as a marketing professor explained to Vox back in May. It’s human nature to want what is hard to get or won’t be around for a long time, and Target excels at this marketing model.
While this anniversary collection will likely appeal to a wide swath of people, fashion fans should love this for the nostalgia factor alone. Jason Wu, Thakoon, Rodarte, and Proenza Schouler pieces are all included. And there is one timely update: Target has said that all of the women’s fashion pieces will be available in “extended sizing.” A lack of extended sizes has gotten the retailer into trouble in the past. In 2014, bloggers boycotted Target for not offering the Altuzarra collection in plus-sizes. The next year, it produced plus-size pieces for the megapopular Lilly Pulitzer range, but it faced controversy again because it only offered them online and not in stores.
In 2011, Target rereleased several of its fashion collaborations to celebrate five years of its Go International program, which is what is was called then. This collection will go beyond fashion, rereleasing a lot of the homeware collaborations as well, possibly including the popular home items from Missoni. Home is a hot category now. Anecdotal evidence: Erin Fetherston, who had a fashion collection with Target in 2007 and whose pieces will be included in this reboot, no longer designs fashion — she only sells home goods now.
Target has been beefing up its private labels in-store, particularly in the home department. If you’ve ever seen how picked-over the HGTV darlings Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Hand collection is, you have a sense of this already. Presumably home design enthusiasts are going to be excited about scoring one of those late ’90s Michael Graves Seussian tea kettles.
Target will undoubtedly capitalize on the same FOMO and anticipation that has driven these collections to such success in the past. In the next few weeks, Target will likely release teasers of items that will be included in this collection. Websites will release the lookbook. Shopping strategies will be planned. And the ultimate reason this exists: carts will be loaded.
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