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Target Expands Converse One Line

Retailer adds more for private label.

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A striped crewneck sweater is worn with pinstripe shorts, a pageboy cap and long ribbed gloves.

Courtesy Photo

NEW YORK — Isaac Mizrahi’s final collection for Target is just hitting stores, but already the retailer has moved on.

Target is expanding the Converse One Star collection for fall, and the line now covers denim, knit dresses, sweaters, graphic tees and outerwear, as well as new vintage-inspired accessories. Converse One Star rock ’n’ roll-inspired accessories include canvas totes, metallic totes, bowler bags, pinstriped satchels, striped neck scarves, fingerless gloves, crested fedoras, page-boy caps and stocking scarves in marigold, royal blue and heather gray, which can be worn together or alone.

An advertising campaign features real people with the theme “everyone is a star.” The fall Converse One Star campaign includes television commercials, online advertising and outdoor media.

Target describes the Converse One Star collection as collegiate-themed, feminized traditional athletic silhouettes with a color palette drawn from iconic East Coast colors such as port, navy, varsity red, gold and orange. The looks are styled with an edge, that Target calls a punk-meets-prep vibe.

An Amherst cardigan in gray ($32.99) is worn with a black sequin tunic ($26.99), black skirt shot with metallic ($34.99) black cropped leggings. Another look consists of the Asby denim vest in dark rinse ($39.99), Blackwall shawl sweater ($32.99), Olden satin pieced top in blue ($19.99), gray Clyde wide-leg herringbone pants ($32.99) and a navy and blue rugby striped skinny scarf ($16.99). The key is the proportions: pants are too long and scarves stick out under vests. Another look combines gray herringbone cuffed shorts ($26.99) with black leggings, a black satin sport shirt ($29.99), “1908” striped crewneck tee ($14.99) and black pageboy cap with crest ($12.99).

“It’s fashion-forward and hot,” said Jennifer Black, a retail analyst and founder of Jennifer Black & Associates. “It’s edgy-preppy.”

But between Go International, Converse One and Mossimo, Black said there will be slim pickings for Baby Boomers come spring when Mizrahi is no longer in the store. “The Isaac Mizrahi for Target line is for an older customer,” she said. “When Isaac goes away, I think there will be a void. I don’t know what’s going to replace it. Converse can be a draw, but they need something memorable for the Boomer customer. Private label can be the best thing to get her attention.”

Target’s private label, at the moment, is geared to a younger consumer. The discounter is emphasizing its Go International brand, which includes guest designer collections as well as a Go International private label line.

“They’ve been stepping up Go International,” said Bill Dreher, a retail analyst at Deutsche Bank. “It’s gaining real credibility as its own label. Within the rotation of designers they’re able to do the private label thing.”

Go International private label collection allows Target to achieve good sales at a higher margin in this difficult economic environment when store traffic has been weak and overall sales, flat to down. “They don’t have to worry about paying a designer,” the analyst said. “They’re being incredibly cautious in trying to protect their margins.”

Target recently unveiled a spate of guest designers, including Jonathan Saunders, Anya Hindmarch and Sigerson Morrison. The retailer assured analysts that “there’s no shortage of depth in this design element,” Dreher said. “This is an increasingly important and profitable part of the business.”

Target has said it will open four temporary stores or “Bullseye Bodegas” in Manhattan between Sept. 12 and 15. The bodegas will highlight nearly two dozen designers in fashion, home and beauty. Some, such as Michael Graves, have long sold products at Target, and others — such as Hindmarch, Saunders, John Derian and Sigerson Morrison — will have merchandise for sale at the bodegas before the products launch in Target stores.

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