Art Class, a Target private label kid's clothing brand launched in January 2017, is expanding into toddler sizes 12M through 5T this month, Target said in a company blog post.
The assortment focuses on "fashion-forward" yet comfortable pants, shirts, jackets and dresses. Most items are priced below $12.99, the company said.
The success of Art Class has helped Target's kid business grow year-over-year, outpacing the industry, Jill Sando, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of apparel and accessories and home, said in a statement. “By further investing in this category and bringing a diverse range of affordable exclusive styles and aesthetics to kids of all ages, we’re reinforcing Target as the ultimate one-stop-shop.”
Private label apparel lines are a classic page in Target's merchandising playbook, but handing over the designer reins to kids was a bit of an experiment. It appears to be paying off, considering the expansion into toddler sizes.
In 2017, 10 creative kids between the ages of 10 and 14, who describe themselves as bloggers, app developers, musicians, authors, surfers, athletes or artists, were selected to help Target design apparel and accessories for Art Class. The retailer had previously also sought input from kids on its Pillowfort kid's home decor line and its popular Cat & Jack apparel line for younger kids and babies. Cat & Jack, which launched in 2016, has been a major private label success story: Within just over a year, sales exceeded $2 billion, thanks in part to an experimental baby box subscription service.
After letting its private brand differentiation efforts stall in the early 2000s, Target is making a comeback. Since 2016, the company has launched roughly 20 private label brands in apparel, home decor, electronics and personal care. Last year, the company launched eight, including apparel brands Universal Thread, Wild Fable, Prologue and Original Use. It also experimented with labels in categories like consumer electronics with Heyday and consumer products with Smartly. The latter, where most items are priced under $2, appears to be a competitive move against upstart consumer products company Brandless, which sells more than 90% of its merchandise at $3.
An expansion of Art Class to a new demographic falls in line with similar moves the mass merchandiser has made in recent months to freshen up private label brands. In January, for example, Target tapped Interior designer Leanne Ford, who co-hosts the HGTV show "Restored by the Fords," to light up its Project 62 private label home decor line. Such celebrity partnerships are a key way to inject more "chic" into Target's "cheap chic" ethos.