Target has created a furniture collection in collaboration with Dwell Magazine, a publication and technology brand spotlighting products, designs and events informed by midcentury-influenced aesthetics.
The Modern by Dwell Magazine collection features more than 120 items, including furniture, décor, tabletop and home accessories separated into indoor and outdoor collections; copper bar tools, terracotta planters, sleek patio sofas and other items will also become available.
Mark Tritton, Target executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a company blog post that the Dwell collection came out of feedback from customers, including insights collected by spending time in their homes.
Because the design collaboration idea is now everywhere, it can be difficult to remember Target innovated the concept several decades ago, bringing haute fashion names to its discount apparel and home goods. In the 1980's, Target ignited a price war with Wal-Mart that it quickly realized it would never win, and decided that differentiated merchandise would be the best way to attract customers: That ultimately earned the retailer a reputation for “cheap chic” and the nickname “Tar-zhay.”
Although Target strayed from that philosophy over time, CEO Brian Cornell has worked to bring it back. To ensure its merchandise will resonate with shoppers, the retailer’s buyers (and sometimes Cornell himself) have been consulting focus groups and visiting homes.
For example, earlier this year Target unveiled Cat & Jack, which replaced its mainstay Cherokee and Circo kids labels, after soliciting feedback and opinions from a range of children. Its gender-neutral Pillowfort line for kids represents another important differentiation for the retailer, which has responded to customer complaints about segregation of boys and girls toys and other merchandise by blurring some lines. Though it has also taken some flak for that, it’s an approach likely to resonate with millennials.
The Dwell Magazine collection in some ways brings Target full circle. Its first designer collaboration was a 1999 pairing with architect/product designer Michael Graves, who champions the kind of Euro-minimalist aesthetic Dwell also favors.
“We’ve long admired Target for how they embrace good design and cultivate unique partnerships, so we’re thrilled to work together on introducing this new collection,” Chris Deam and Nick Dine, co-creative directors of product design at Dwell, said in a statement. “With Modern by Dwell Magazine, we’re excited to introduce modern design to more people than ever.”
Target needs any boost it may get from its newfound dedication to design: Same-store sales decreased 1.1% in the second quarter, its first negative same-store sales measure since the first quarter of 2014. Target said same-store sales in the second half of the year would fall another 2% after previously saying they would be flat year over year.