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Target Taps Emerging Designers for Upcoming Dress Drop

Covid-weary shoppers have a new and enticing reason to ditch their sweats this spring.

Target’s second Designer Dress Collection, announced Monday, will feature frocks from sartorial stars like Christopher John Rogers—winner of last year’s CFDA American Emerging Designer of the Year Award and creator of Vice President Kamala Harris’ eye-catching royal purple inaugural ensemble—as well as London’s vintage-inspired luxury label Rixo and womenswear brand Alexis.

Featuring more than 70 original dress designs exclusive to the retailer, the line’s bold, statement-making patterns and playful silhouettes will range in price from $40-$60, Target said in a statement. What’s more, the capsule represents Target’s most size-inclusive limited-edition collection to date, with all dresses available in sizes XXS-4X. The looks will drop later this spring on the company’s e-commerce site and in select stores.

“For more than 20 years, Target has partnered with some of the biggest names in the industry and had the opportunity to introduce our guests to emerging designers who are shaping fashion and culture today,” Jill Sando, the retailer’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, noted. “With this spring collection, we’re celebrating three incredibly talented and diverse designers, all while creating our most size-inclusive collection of original, quality dresses that we know our guests will love.”

Launched in 2008 by mother-daughter team Alexis Barbara Isaias and Ana Barbara, Alexis’ sophisticated, feminine aesthetic also speaks to the modern traveler, Target said. With elegant yet effortless silhouettes suited for a weekend getaway, Barbara Isaias called the Alexis x Target line “a true reflection of who I am.”

“Every dress was designed with an intention to bring to life my passion to make each and every woman feel beautiful,” she added. “I have always wanted to create a line that resonated with a larger audience of women, and doing it alongside Target is a dream come true.”

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Meanwhile, six-year-old label Rixo, helmed by best friends Orlagh McCloskey and Henrietta Rix, aims to evoke feelings of wanderlust through its free-spirited, pattern-heavy designs. The brand’s fabrics and figure-flattering shapes are designed with vintage looks in mind, Target said.

“At Rixo, we create clothes with the goal of making people feel like the best version of themselves, and the design process for this collection includes the same level of thought and inspiration that goes into our main brand,” Rix and McCloskey added. “We feel lucky to be partnering with the retailer and for the opportunity to connect with their guests of all ages, shapes and sizes.”

“We can’t wait to see the collection come to life—seeing our designs on others is always such a magical feeling,” the founders said.

Rogers, who founded his eponymous line in 2016, said he has been inspired by a desire to break boundaries. “Growing up as an artistic kid in the Deep South, I’ve always aspired to create designs that help the wearer feel their most self-expressive,” he said. The designer, whose bold looks have been worn by megastars like Lady Gaga and Lil Nas X, expressed excitement about the forthcoming launch, saying “I’ve always admired the Target designer collaborations in the past, and I’m excited to be a part of that legacy.”

“I’ve had a blast working with the Target team and I hope this collection of quality, declarative dresses helps Target guests across the country feel their most authentic,” he added.

This spring’s multi-designer line proceeds last year’s introductory Designer Dress Collection from Target, which featured limited-edition looks from Cushnie, Lisa Marie Fernandez, and LoveShackFancy.

Operational upgrades

The announcement comes on the heels of quietly unveiled upgrades to Target’s last mile and replenishment capabilities. The retailer is currently testing operations at its Minneapolis “sortation center,” which opened in 2020. The location will serve as a model for five more facilities to open later this year.

The unique fulfillment operation will serve to further scale Targets “stores-as-hubs model,” the company said in a statement. The sortation centers will amass online orders from local stores throughout the day, sorting them into efficient routes for carriers to deliver. “This pulls the sorting activity out of store backrooms so it can be consolidated more efficiently at one facility,” the company said, “giving store teams more time and space to fulfill additional orders, while reducing the load on external carriers.”

According to Target, the streamlined process “increases store fulfillment capacity, reduces last-mile fulfillment costs and speeds delivery to guests.”

“The stores-as-hub model is really centered around this assumption that we can use the store in a guest’s local community to fill all their needs,” Sara Thomas, Target’s vice president of global supply chain and logistics, said in a video. “In our back rooms we have team members that are continuously processing digital orders.”

“This unlocks our ability to do even more fulfillment from our stores,” she added.

The company is also investing in its ability to quickly and efficiently replenish stock at stores to support their continued growth in 2021, the company said. Target expects to open two distribution centers in Delaware and Chicago by end of year, and will break ground on two more in 2022 to support the East and West coasts.