Right before our eyes, Target has managed to transform itself from a store with the appeal (or lack there of) of Walmart to one that is more worthy of mention in the world of fashion than many ever thought possible. At least some of Target’s cred. is due to the mass retailer’s utilization of the designer collaboration. Sure, the once-cringeworthy store was not the first to produce a big-name collaboration. The most recent version of the collaboration trend kicked off in 2004 with Karl Lagerfeld’s line for H&M. (The seeds are actually in the diffusion line. Yves St. Laurent launched Rive Gauche in 1966, Prada established Miu Miu in 1993, Dolce & Gabbana founded D&G in 1994, etc.).
Lagerfeld’s collection for H&M was arguably the first luxurious name to hit the mass market, but even though Target’s scheme is not the most novel, Target has managed to keep the momentum going more consistently than its fast-fashion counterparts.
Target’s strategy is a bit different from others. In comparison to H&M, Target has offered lines from arguably less well-known designers. H&M has offered collections from Karl, Lanvin, Versace, Stella McCartney, and Roberto Cavalli. Target has provided shoppers with younger designers, most of whom were emerging designers at the time. Thakoon, Rogan, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, and Rodarte have all designed collections. Target, unlike H&M, has taken the collab a step further, incorporating home goods. Most notably: the Missoni for Target collection, which included almost anything you could imagine.
And now, Target is focusing on a new tactic: the Shops at Target, which recreates famous stores, such as The Webster in Miami, in a shop in shop type scenario. Target has certainly managed to beat the odds, as in 2007, Newsweek and much of the industry was predicting that the designer collaboration was over.