By Jamie Lim
In September 2011, it was Missoni for Target. Later in November, it was Versace for H&M. Now the spotlight is on Jason Wu for Target.
Earlier this month, Wu’s line for Target was officially available at stores and online. The last time Target released a collection by a couture designer, Target.com crashed. This time, however, the release of Wu’s collection did not harm the website.
“We have so many fans from a younger generation that cannot yet afford Jason Wu but pay attention to what we do,” Wu told USA Today. “It also shows my range as a designer that I’m able to design for two spectrums of the market.”
Wu is famously known for designing Michelle Obama’s white, one-shouldered gown for her husband’s inauguration celebration. The first lady was even spotted wearing the sleeveless, chiffon navy dress from Wu’s Target collection.
The designer may have been born in Taipei, but he lived in one of the world’s fashion capitals — Paris. His collection for Target, coincidentally, was the idea of an American girl in Paris.
Wu also had a muse for his collection, a black cat named Milu. The cat added elements in the fabric with mischief in the details. Milu is also illustrated on some of the garments.
When designing the collection, Wu’s goal was to not duplicate any of his designs from his main fashion line. Instead, Wu wanted to design a fresh, new line that would still reflect his taste in design.
The line is made up of 53 pieces, each retailing under $60. It includes an assortment of handbags, scarves, jackets, dresses, blouses and more. The flowers, pleats and bows in the collection showcase his ability to combine a modern look with a feminine touch.
“Our store is considered a high-volume store,” Waco’s Target executive team leader, Sharon Chacon said. “Our designer section consists of four racks and all four were full of the collection. In addition, there was a rack of scarves and purses in our accessories department.”
When an affordable collection from a high-end designer becomes available, consumers act quickly on it. The acts can sometimes be extreme, like stealing garments out of another shopper’s basket or lining up outside of a store at 6 a.m.
James Roberts, the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing at Baylor and author of “Shiny Objects,” a book about modern consumerism, explained one of the reasons why Americans has an obsession with consumerism.
“When we want to see how we’re doing we look to other people. In general, we’re not going to look at other people that we feel are beneath us on the social ladder, we’re going to look upward. When we see them in these types of brands we want the brands too,” Roberts said. “Sometimes we can’t afford it but when something like [Jason Wu for Target] comes along, it’s an opportunity for us to share with our aspirations the products and brands they use.”
In a story titled “Steal of the Month: Super Cheap, But Still Chic,” Alexa Chung, host of “24 Hour Catwalk,” wears the dot-print, navy shirt dress from Wu’s Target collection.
Chung emphasized the ability to remain fashionable without wearing high-end fashion.
Even though the collection is more affordable than his actual couture line, a blouse from the collection can cost around $35, which for some can be too costly.
“Target has value. It’s not an expensive place, but they have better products,” Roberts said, ”You’re expecting to go to Target and pay more, but you’re also expecting a little more stylish products.”
However, even a $35 blouse didn’t stop shoppers from getting their hands on Wu’s collection. Within hours of being available to the public, many garments sold out.
“The pieces sold very quickly. We sold out of the accessories on the morning of the release,” Chacon said. “At the end of the day we had sold about 75 percent of our collection.”
If the jersey dress in red and navy stripes or black pleated skirt being sold out is a problem, then more than likely it’ll be available on eBay — for double or triple the price.
Some people think the garments are worth the money because Wu took a different approach to his Target line. Even with a different perspective, he was still keen to detail. Wu has said he made sure his garments were not only beautiful on the outside, but inside as well.
It’s not sold out already and the collection is available in 1,200 of the 1,800 total Target stores. Can’t find it an Target? Try their website, it even offers pieces that are not sold in stores as online-only exclusives.
No luck at Target.com? There’s always eBay.