Target Corp.'s biggest apparel brand launch of 2018 is also its most democratic.The retailer during the first week of February will unveil Universal Thread, a women's denim lifestyle collection with more than 500 items, including jeans, shorts, tops, dresses, accessories, jewelry and shoes. Universal Thread embraces all sizes and body shapes and will be priced up to 10 percent lower than the existing Mossimo denim, which is being phased out. The denim component of Ava & Viv, a plus-size lifestyle collection that Target launched in 2015, will migrate to Universal Thread.Target saw a void in the market for a denim lifestyle brand that spans several product categories and delivers newness every month. Universal Thread is one of the retailer's arsenal of new brands that began rolling out last year.Last February, the retailer said it would introduce more than a dozen labels in 18 months as part of the reimagining of its apparel and home businesses. Ten brands bowed in 2017, including Goodfellow & Co., men’s wear; A New Day, women’s apparel; Project 62, home decor, and JoyLab, ath-leisure."We’ll have more brands later this year in apparel and home," a spokeswoman said. "We have more than 12. Universal Thread will be the 11th brand we've launched since we announced the broader strategy.""Universal Thread is one of our largest brands and it has a really wide reach," said Mark Tritton, Target's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, adding that "$1 billion [in annual sales] is one of our aspirations, and I think it can hit that mark. It's the art and science of brand management and how we’re applying that to the new brands."A New Day, which launched in August, includes more than 2,000 items; however, a spokeswoman said the majority are accessories and jewelry, with apparel consisting of 700 products.Target took a risk when it decided to phase out stalwarts Merona, for women and men, and Mossimo, men’s wear. "It’s not a like-for-like replacement," Tritton said of Universal Thread. "Denim existed under Merona and Mossimo. Merona has moved out. We kept some elements of Mossimo relevant in denim until we could bring Universal Thread to life." Mossimo will be phased out over the next year.A key element of Universal Thread is its all-embracing approach to sizing and body shapes. "It's inclusivity for all women and all body types," a Target spokeswoman said. "There's a variety of different rises, pant lengths, cuts and fits, such as straight or curvy, as well as extended seams."While a percentage of A New Day extends to size 26, Target is going further with Universal Thread. "The guest response to A New Day's full sizes was tremendous," Tritton said. "One of the big differences of Universal Thread is that for the first time, 100 percent of the assortment will be offered in sizes 00-26W/XS-4X. The online guest trusts us with size. Now a lot of our stores reflect the work we did last year to display apparel on size-inclusive mannequins."Guest research was part of defining the white space. "We engaged with nearly 1,000 guests to create a brand rooted in their research," Tritton said. "We held fit clinics with 24- to 40-year-old guests and talked to guests. They tried on 240 pairs of jeans, from size 00 to 26. They voiced their opinions on the styles they loved and the fit experience."Many of the focus group members said they dreaded shopping for denim. "We're meeting the needs of existing customers and have the opportunity to attract new guests. We looked at specialty denim and quality fits. You’re going to find your reliable core jeans and update your wardrobe with new fashion pieces," Tritton said, citing a cropped pant with wrap waist and tuxedo trim.About 40 percent of the brand consists of denim, including pants and shorts in both forward styles and staples. The balance is made up of pants, tops, shorts, dresses, accessories, jewelry and shoes. Universal Thread is using the latest denim technology including shape technology, no-fade black jeans and stain-repellent white jeans.Jewelry, accessories and shoe styles for spring 2018 include backpacks, dusters and baseball caps; mules, fashion slides, sneakers and flatforms, and hoops and statement drop earrings.
"While we’re quickly developing these brands in-house, we’ve also been able to share in the learnings from the brands we’ve already launched," Tritton said, citing merchandising and creating in-store and online experiences that mirror one another. "We're changing the way we present products. A New Day and Goodfellow & Co., are being shown in their own environments. It's a 360-degree experience, whether in a store or online. The power of that has been phenomenal. Guests have really responded."
In addition to the brand-shop approach, accessories and shoes will also be sold within their own product categories.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)