As streetwear becomes increasingly mainstream, mass retailers like Target are now creating their own low-cost private labels to cash in on the trend.
Target announced on Thursday the debut of Original Use, a streetwear-inspired men’s apparel line with prices ranging from $10 to $40, one of three forthcoming private collections. In addition to Original Use, Target is launching Heyday, a collection of stylish personal electronic products like headphones and cell phone cases, as well as Wild Fable, a women’s apparel and accessories line.
The new labels — which will be available this summer and join Target’s ever-growing roster of private labels, which now include A New Day, Goodfellow & Co. and Cat & Jack — are designed with millennial and Gen-Z shoppers in mind. According to Target CMO Mark Tritton, they were created in response to extensive research and focus groups conducted with younger shoppers in order to get a deeper understanding of their shopping habits.
Original Use, in particular, will be beneficial in helping Target capitalize on the growing streetwear and sneaker market, an industry valued at $300 billion globally, by making it more accessible at a lower price point.
“Trends trickle down from influencers like Virgil [Abloh], Kanye [West] and Pharrell [Williams] to the mass-market consumer that wants those items,” said Jed Stiller, co-founder of Stadium Goods. “It’s a smart move to take the creative aesthetic and essence of what’s hot from a style perspective and commercialize it.”
Beyond providing an opportunity for Target to join the streetwear movement, Original Use is a strategic push for the company to better compete with peers like Amazon and Walmart as they ramp up their own private-label efforts. Though both offer athletic wear and basics, Target will be among the first to delve into streetwear. Further, the new collections build upon Target’s popular designer collaborations, all part of a larger strategy to expand its already vast audience base, said Jared Berger, vp of retail strategy at Ansira.
“We’ve come to expect Target’s pulses of generationally minded initiatives aimed at creating buzz and relevance,” he said. “[We’ve seen it] in their partnership and co-brands with Missoni and Lily Pulitzer, and their continued evolution of in-house brands designed to both highlight the individual and extend the retailer’s coolness and relevancy quotient.”
Berger said the most significant component of the new labels is Target’s intention to adjust digital marketing and social media strategies to better connect with Gen-Z and millennial consumers. These tactics will include launching in-store digital displays that allow shoppers to mix and match styles so they can “touch, feel, mix and match pieces to create a complete look,” and also tapping influencers to curate styles on Target.com, according to the blog.
“What makes the latest foray into private label interesting and relevant is the integration of more social and co-creationary marketing, and point-of-sale product, customer and technology tie-ins,” he said.
Still, Stiller said these types of collections won’t inspire the same level of furor as Target’s designer collaborations or a sneaker drop that drives hordes of hypebeasts to wait outside of Supreme.
“It won’t have the same effect. You won’t see lines outside of Target,” he said. “But this speaks to a mass-market consumer that’s looking for what’s fresh, new and hot right now.”