Target’s Universal Thread collection brings premium fabrics and sustainable concepts to the mass level at wallet-friendly prices.

Deep Dive

Target’s Universal Thread line of apparel, footwear and accessories takes the “universal” part to heart. True to its name, the “denim-grounded” collection is designed for all bodies, including those with adaptive needs. For wheelchair users, for example, there are jeans with flattened seams, wider legs and higher rises. To minimize sensory discomfort, the retail chain made tees and tanks with no tags, flattened seams and super-soft material.

In developing Universal Thread, which debuted in January amid blitz of private-label launches, Target surveyed nearly 1,000 women across the country to better understand their shopping pain points.

“What we heard from nearly all of them was that they dreaded shopping for new jeans,” Mark Tritton, the company’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, wrote in the corporate blog. “Whether the rise was too long or the inseam was too short, or the pair of jeans they wanted didn’t come in their size—finding the perfect fit for their body type was just too challenging.”

Universal Thread wants to sidestep some of those hurdles by providing multiple fits, silhouettes, lengths and rises in sizes that range from 00 to 26W—an expansiveness that’s a first for Target, Tritton said.

“Denim is a part of every woman’s wardrobe…and we’re excited to bring our guests a lifestyle brand rooted in denim that’s also an amazing everyday value,” Tritton said, noting that the jeans top out at $39.99 and cost, on average, up to 10 percent less than Target’s current offerings.

Universal Thread has a sustainable bent, too. Certain styles are made with recycled cotton, and a number of jeans feature polyester pocket linings derived from recycled plastic bottles. Jeggings made with fabric by Candiani are finished with Kitotex, a water-saving technology that uses chitosan from shrimp and lobster shells in the dyeing process.

“At the core of each of our new brands is a focus on our guests—understanding what they want, what’s important to them and how we can address that in a way that’s uniquely Target,” Tritton added.