Target’s fall fashion trends include a new signature apparel brand, its first since before the pandemic.
On Sunday, major retailer is launching Future Collective, a women’s ready-to-wear brand with a rotating creative director or “style partner” each quarter to help co-design the collection. The first style partner will be Kahlana Barfield-Brown, a former fashion and beauty editor for InStyle magazine, known for her streetwear-inspired aesthetic.
Future Collective’s news follows Target Corp’s partnership. with menswear brand Houston White, announced on Wednesday as the major retailer continues to cement its status as a fashion destination. The multi-year Houston White x Target partnership is exclusive to Target.
“As we continue to invest in our style category and evolve our range, we recognize the importance of offering diverse and differentiated brands with a variety of aesthetics to accommodate all guests,” said Jill Sando, Chief Merchandising Officer at Target, to WWD.
“Our portfolio of owned apparel and accessories brands continues to be a key differentiator for Target, providing guests with stylish, well-designed brands at incredible value,” she continued. “We believe that with the launch of Future Collective, we will continue to meet the diverse needs of our fashion-forward guests, reach both new and existing guests, and further establish Target as a popular style destination.”
The retailer has 17 own clothing brands – not including Future Collective – for men, women and children. Ten of those are billion-dollar brands, including women’s activewear brand All In Motion, the last proprietary apparel brand Target launched in January 2020.
Target has previously worked with a rotating cast of characters for its annual designer collections, working with new designers each year to keep the range fresh. (Previous collaborations have included Christopher John Rogers, Alexis, Zac Posen, Rodarte, and Jason Wu, among others.) But unlike the design partnerships, Future Collective is Target’s own brand — and it’s here to stay.
“The aim is to introduce guests to a rotating list of notable style influencers through on-trend ranges – all at a great price,” said Sando. “Each partner will share their unique style and perspective on fashion, offering exciting new collections and fashion aesthetics that encourage guests to explore and celebrate their individual style.”
Each Future Collective collection will also be limited edition and virtually sold out once they sell out, increasing the urgency for consumers to shop now. The company said it has no plans to reproduce individual collections.
Also in contrast to the Designer Collective, which works with established designers and brands, Target Future Collective starts with a style partner that does not have a brand. (Though the company said it might decide to work with established brands as well as other style and culture influencers in the future.)
Target chose Barfield-Brown as Future Collective’s premier style partner because of their shared values and because the duo had previously worked together on a limited-edition apparel and accessories collaboration last summer.
“This partnership with Kahlana Barfield Brown is a continuation of her longstanding relationship with Target,” Sando explained. “Kahlana is known and respected in the fashion world as a style leader, making her the perfect first partner for the launch of Future Collective.”
Barfield-Brown added, “Target understood who I am, my values and the vision. The best part was feeling seen, heard and supported by the incredible Target team.
“I’ve always dreamed of creating my own line, but I knew it had to be the right partner – a partner who understood who I am as a creative and who gave me autonomy in every step of the process,” added her. “And when you think of a brand that really reaches everyone, think of Target.”
Barfield-Brown’s Future Collective collection features 120 streetwear-inspired womenswear and essentials – including dresses, matching sets and trousers – along with some accessories in four seasonal updates. The first drop arrives at select Target stores and target.com on Sunday, followed by three more drops, the last of which will be in November. Prices range from $17 to $70 for each piece, with most items under $30 and available in sizes XXS to 4XL.
“I was inspired by my own personal fashion formula and the style I’ve been creating for myself throughout my life,” said Barfield-Brown. “It’s all about the essentials; everything goes back to the foundation. I wanted to build a collection that allows you to create that strong base with bodies, great jeans, blazers and jackets and then find your own flair through accessories, layers and fit. It was important to me that these pieces had a classic yet versatile feel, stood the test of time and still had cool details that really caught the eye and let your personal style shine.”
Target will announce the next design partner in December.
Meanwhile, the retailer’s mission to establish itself as a fashion destination continues to evolve as busy consumers flock to the mass retailer for fashion trends, home essentials, as well as groceries and essentials all in one place. Brands have followed suit, competing for space (both physical and digital) in Target’s ecosystem.
In addition to Target’s own brands and partnerships, it carries national brands such as Stoney Clover Lane, Levi’s Red Tab, lingerie label Journelle, period panty brand Thinx, Priyanka Chopra’s haircare brand Anomaly, and homewares brand Opalhouse, co-designed with Jungalow brand founders and designers . This is in addition to Ulta Beauty, Disney and Apple Shops-in-Shops at select locations.
But while Target may have benefited from its essential status during the pandemic, the retailer (like others in the industry) struggled last quarter with price hikes along the supply chain and excess inventory due to rapidly changing consumer shopping behavior. Many people switched from buying home accessories and apparel products to goods and services — too quickly for Target’s purchasing team, which buys products months in advance, to keep up. Inflation is also affecting sales, particularly for low-income consumers who are moving away from durable goods.
However, Sando said Target’s value proposition keeps shoppers coming back.
“Incredible design that is affordable and accessible is a key component throughout our portfolio and why guests love shopping at Target,” she said. “Our guests crave new arrivals at Target in many categories, particularly fashion, and continue to look to Target for amazing style at an equally amazing price. Future Collective will offer them a new trendy clothing and accessories brand that is affordable and will help them refresh their wardrobes for fall and beyond.”