SAN FRANCISCO — Target Corp. has built C9 by Champion into a $1 billion brand within its doors and will soon see how the activewear label performs beyond those barriers.
Today, the Minneapolis-based retailer will open a C9 Active Apparel store, the first retail concept Target has introduced not under its own name since a five-year experiment with specialty Everyday Hero stores ended in 1997. Housed in 3,000 square feet inside Westfield’s Metreon complex in San Francisco just below the fifth CityTarget in the U.S., the store reflects the strength of the activewear sector and Target’s strategy to make further inroads with urban shoppers who are turning activewear into all-day uniforms.
“This site in particular had additional space adjacent to the main store. We started thinking about what brands would make the most sense to isolate from the mother brand. Given the demographics of San Francisco and the growth of C9 overall, it didn’t take long for us to come up with the idea of opening a C9 Active Apparel store,” explained Target spokesman Joshua Thomas, who added, “The goal we had in mind was to create a lifestyle store and separating that from the Target store allowed us to create an environment fully immersed in the brand.”
Besides its proximity to a CityTarget, the C9 Active Apparel store, which Thomas said was designed internally by Target without involvement from C9 by Champion manufacturer Hanesbrands Inc., provides few clues that it is affiliated with Target. There is no Target signage, nor its ubiquitous bull’s-eye logo. Target’s red and white coloration is abandoned in favor of orange, and the C9 salespeople, who alternate between CityTarget and C9, wear orange shirts when on duty at C9. The industrial feel evoked by concrete flooring and exposed ceilings is in marked contrast to Target’s big-box aesthetic.
There are more than 300 styles of apparel merchandise in the store, and more than 100 accessory and sporting goods items. Apparel is roughly 60 percent women’s and 40 percent men’s. The women’s merchandise is grouped near C9 Active Apparel’s main entrance on Fourth Street, while another entrance next to the CityTarget escalators off of Mission Street leads to the men’s area.
Target was careful to localize the C9 Active Apparel store. There are products emblazoned with San Francisco’s main attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge. A film of people being active around the city greets shoppers when they come into the store, and photographs taken in San Francisco of yoga, running and pick-up football are exhibited throughout. The fitting room even has an approximate map of San Francisco with the message, “You are a run, bike, or yoga stretch away from the best urban workouts on earth.”
When C9 by Champion launched in 2004, sports bras were a core part of the assortment and remain bestsellers. A wall filled with colorful sports bras is a central merchandising feature of the C9 Active Apparel location, as is a wall of basics with socks and boxer briefs, among other items. There are also fixtures spotlighting an array of pants in short, capri, legging and boot-cut varieties. Four display tables highlight specific items, including $24.99 Advanced Super-Soft quarter Zip Jackets and $9.99 Active Power Workout T-shirts. Across the C9 assortment, the categories that are missing from the C9 Active Apparel store are footwear and children’s, which is available at the adjacent CityTarget location.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast