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Image, Style, Design | Capsule Collection Reboot

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

By Steven Fischer

Over the past six years, Target has become widely known for its capsule collections created by high-end designers. The 2011 Missoni for Target collection drew quite a bit of attention, and thanks to its success, what was previously an exclusive Italian fashion house suddenly received mass-market awareness. It offered consumer the chance to own a piece by a high-end label that they may not otherwise be able to afford. Missoni gained exposure to a vast consumer base with less individual means but strong mass purchasing power. And Target of course gained from this partnership, just like it has with its previous high-design collaborations.

But as other mass market retailers joined the designer partnership bandwagon, these onetime partnerships began to look a little too familiar. In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, Target giant launched The Shops at Target program. It’s essentially a pop-up shop model using regional specialty boutiques. San Francisco’s The Candy Store, Aspen’s bath and body store Cos Bar, Boston’s Polka Dog Bakery, Connecticut’s Privet House, and Miami’s The Webster were the first to offer their goods through the chain. 

The difference between the Missoni collection and The Shops is that the boutiques aren’t big brand names. Boutiques are special precisely because they’re regionally known—people shop them because their founders’ tastes are trusted within their local communities. They just don’t carry the brand recognition that a luxury heavyweight like Missoni has. Will these shops’ offerings pull the same high demand outside of their local communities? Only time— and sales—will tell. 

Tell us: Is it possible to pull off the boutique model in a big box store?

 

Steven Fischer is Director of Image, Style & Design Studio and Lecturer at Northwestern University. For more information go to imagestyledesign.com

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