A Tale of Cat Prints and Consumer Capitalism: Did You Stand in Line for Jason Wu's Target Collection?
For someone who is more often than not a dog person, I have an odd history when it comes to showing up at brick-and-mortar stores for designer collaborations with cheapie brands. The first collab I got up early in the morning for was Hello Kitty + Forever 21 (no one was in line and I scored bigtime) and the second one was this morning's Jason Wu + Target collection, which featured his cat, Milu, in a few key pieces. I may be allergic to cats, but that doesn't mean I can't have them all over my wardrobe!
There's no Target in San Francisco, so I found myself on the freeway heading south to Colma (or "the land of the dead," as I call it in my head, because Colma is mainly composed of cemeteries and the buried population is larger than the living one). I'd been up all night like a crazy person reading the "Target Style" Facebook page, where shoppers were sharing their experiences buying Wu's collection online and East Coasters were quick to tell us about how it went at stores in their respective states. The online sale started at around 10 p.m. PT with the Facebook page linking readers to the first three available dresses, and in 15 minutes they were gone and eBay started filling up with listings for the same items at double the price. Ugh.
By the time I got to a computer (at around midnight), there were still a good deal of items up for grabs, but the much-coveted Milu scarves were all out. I had a kitty bag in my cart, but when I went to pay — BAM — it disappeared. My sister Christine (who is a three-cat lady) was shopping from her screen in Los Angeles and was smart enough to hit the pay button on the bag before browsing Wu's dresses.
I got to the Colma Target 15 minutes before the doors opened and was greeted by a line of at least 50 people (mostly chicks with a few token dudes) and sighed. I was secretly hoping it wouldn't be a madhouse, but no such luck. A guy in a red Target shirt came out and told us to head left for the clothing and right for the accessories. And then the line was moving really quickly as people filed in and started snatching everything in sight. By the time I made it to the accessories area, it was completely bare, and I rushed over to the clothes where people were in full vulture mode.
In line for the dressing rooms minutes later, there was a lot of bartering — "I have size 14. If your size 12 doesn't fit, can we swap?" — and a lot of cattiness when fitting room returns made it to a rack outside. They had a big, burly guy in red policing the rack, too! At one point he called a tall, skinny lady "violent" and asked her to leave. Meow! He also told us that Target employees weren't allowed to buy items from the Wu collection beforehand — anyone who did would supposedly be fired straightaway — in the spirit of fairness. Who knew?
I got on the phone with my sister, who was reporting live from the North Hollywood Target and she told me there were only 15 people in line where she was. A news crew was interviewing the lady at the front of the line, and Cree (my sister's nickname) was trying to avoid being caught in a consumeristic rage on camera. She said she was chatting with the girls around her and they were all ashamed about showing up — they felt pretty shallow.
Cree made a beeline for the accessories and was able to get me the bag and a scarf (her cat, Mr. Warren, is posing with them in the photo above). Store personnel insisted that customers could only buy one of each at the checkout counter, so she hid a second scarf in a shoe in the children's section and planned to return later in the day. When she told me that, I laughed so hard ... these sales bring out the worst in people. We agreed to split the cost and make a gift of that scarf to Catster style writer Catsparella, who was able to score a Milu bag and shirt but missed out on said scarf at her local Target.
When Cree and I got back to our respective pads, we hopped on Skype and showed each other our hauls. (That's her pictured up top, with my kitty nephew Theodore in the background.) Overall, we thought items were pretty well made and the prices were rather fair. Worth the hype? Maybe not, but it wasn't as grueling an experience as we'd anticipated. A little bit fun, even. But you know what's not fun? The
5,00011,000+ listings on eBay featuring the Wu items marked up like mad. Already folks on Facebook are boycotting the eBay sales and some have started a bartering group of their own.
Did you guys make it out to Target today? What do you make of all the consumeristic madness? Have you ever lined up outside a store in the wee hours of the morn in the name of fashion? Inquiring minds (mainly mine) want to know!
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About the Author: Janine Kahn is Catster and Dogster's Managing Editor. She lives with one litter box-trained dog and has three kitty nephews.