With the help of 10 talented members of “Generation Z” — including bloggers, app developers, musicians, authors, surfers, athletes and artists aged 10 to 14 — Target has designed an apparel and accessories collection aimed at that demographic. The new line, dubbed “Art Class,” will release an initial offering of 100 or so clothing items and accessories aimed at those between the ages of four and 12 on Jan. 22.
Prices for Art Class items will range from $5.99 to $24.99, and new Art Class products will roll out on an ongoing basis every four to eight weeks, the company said. The effort follows a new gender-neutral Pillowfort line of home decor goods for kids and its new Cat & Jack apparel line for younger kids and babies. Those lines were also developed with input from children (and their parents).
Generally speaking, “Gen Z” includes kids born between 1995 and 2010; their numbers are larger than the already massive millennial generation, they’re seen as the first truly digitally native group, and they’re viewed as creative, eco- and fashion-conscious yet pragmatic types who view the world as always interconnected.
Gen Zers influence some $600 billion of household spending and they’ll account for some 40% of consumers by 2020 Farla Efros, president of retail strategy firm HRC Retail Advisory, told USA Today. Their numbers and influence could lift retailers that pay the right attention to them.
In its continued effort to differentiate its merchandise to avoid competing solely on price, Target appears to be leaning on the young generation for creative ideas that relate to their peers. The retailer brought the kids to its Minneapolis headquarters to provide feedback on some early Art Class looks. The kids designed two of the collection’s final pieces, in a limited-edition set the retailer is calling “Class of 2017.”
It's not a surprise that such an effort is coming from Target — the retailer innovated the mass market-designer collaboration in the eighties, after realizing it wasn't about to win a price war with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. After straying from that mode, the product differentiation that comes with such collaborations is back under CEO Brian Cornell, including a venture with modernist lifestyle company Dwell.
“Over the past year, our teams have reimagined our assortment for kids, and guests have loved the introduction of new Target brands including Pillowfort and Cat & Jack,” Michelle Wlazlo, Target senior vice president of apparel and accessories, said in a statement. “Art Class provides kids, and their parents, another great reason to choose Target. The line gives kids the ability to have fun with their fashion – creating looks that are truly their own and truly original – all while offering moms and dads with the value and convenience their busy lives demand.”