About That Jason Wu for Target Hoarding & Goodbye to Ralph Lauren’s “American Living”

Hello-Hello, and welcome to a Wednesday Thursday.

Today’s post is something of a tough topic. It looks at a new and challenging issue for Target: the way it is handling sales of its most popular designer collaboration collections. Today we speak most specifically about its Jason Wu for Target line that debuted Sunday, the critical acclaim for the Jason Wu collection is indisputable.


Unlike the Missoni for Target collection that shut down the retailer’s website, the controversy this time is related to a different topic, buyers who purchase in huge volume to resell at a profit.  Online and offline chatter about the troubling trend is growing, much of it driven by videos shot in-store.

The video that seemed to hit the biggest nerve shows two people with overflowing shopping carts at a Miami Target; below, screen grabs from the video.

You Tube

The 44-second video is called “Jason Wu for Target Disaster in Midtown Miami“.


This is a touchy subject, because yours truly is pretty much in favor of free enterprise and all, and the people in the video are not doing anything illegal. Yet I find it difficult to watch the video without becoming incensed.  Not because I didn’t get what I wanted from the line, here is a shot taken yesterday at our closest Target.

ABC News

There seemed to be plenty of merchandise still available, although there were no accessories to be seen. Back to the Miami incident, the video shown above is not the only one shot of the couple making their purchases.

ABC News

In another posted by ABC News, the man can be heard saying, “I’ll leave a few of each piece so you guys calm down, okay? Are we all happy now? Are we happy now?” (Shoppers were not happy.)

After the debacle the company encountered with eBay reselling of the Missoni items, I’m not sure why Target simply doesn’t implement guidelines or rules that can be enforced at a store manager’s discretion. If the company does not want things being purchased with the sole intent of making a profit, why not take a tip from H&M? Regular readers may recall this from our post on the recent Versace for H&M collection:

Shoppers will be allowed in stores in groups of 20, with a shopping allowance of just 10 minutes. Customers can only buy one of each item and only in one size to stop customers buying for their friends or bulk-buying popular styles to sell on eBay.

Those rules come from “Versace for H&M lay down the law,” a story in The Telegraph. The subhead reads: “Ahead of the collection going on sale this Thursday, the high street label has draughted a handful of shopping rules for keen customers.” To see more on H&M’s policy, this Fashionista story has great detail.

More from Consumerist:

As Electric Blogarella points out, there is a limit on items from the collection online, but not for in-store purchases. It wasn’t the local Target that failed their customers here, it was corporate, who apparently haven’t learned much from their past fashion craze mistakes.

Target has responded to the Miami New Times with a comment about the issue:

Regarding product limitations, we tested product limitations online at Target.com and are encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received from our guests. We did not enforce product limitations in our stores.

This is what one finds if looking for any of the accessories online:

Miami New Times

Every single accessory item is shown as “sold out online” or “available in stores”.

Disregarding all issues of right, wrong or other morality-based descriptions one may associate with the hoarding, it is becoming a matter the company needs to deal with, if only because of the PR ramifications. This solicitation for horror stories input comes from a sizable media entity, Philly.com (Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News site), in a piece titled “Share your Jason Wu for Target disaster stories with us”:


Interestingly enough, your faithful scribe may be in the minority about becoming irritated when watching the Miami video, public sentiment may not be on the same page. Most comments on The Stir’s “Cafe Mom” post seemed to find little or no problem with what the couple was doing.

The Stir Cafe Mom

Reaction…Thoughts… insight?


Our other tidbit today involves Ralph Lauren, and its American Living Line sold at JC Penney.

JC Penney via Home Accents Today

The line launched in 2008, but remained a consistent underperformer for Penney’s, now we have word it is going away. More from the Post:

American Living was a disappointment and plagued by markdowns from the start. Ralph Lauren refused to attach his name to the line, which was set to compete with the Chaps brand that is sold at Kohl’s stores.

As a result, Penney shoppers didn’t recognize its connection to Ralph Lauren, despite its preppy-flavored clothing and home furnishings.

Former Penney CEO Myron Ullman, who had hoped to make American Living a $1 billion brand, later admitted to associates that “it was a mistake,” according to a source close to the retailer.
We’re guessing this news will not cause anyone to lose sleep tonight. 🙂


Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

16 responses to “About That Jason Wu for Target Hoarding & Goodbye to Ralph Lauren’s “American Living”

  1. The American Living line always had a color palette that was a bit “off”.

    Also, Target really does need to limit quantities more for their own protection and profit margin!

  2. I feel the same about the whole Target disaster. They’re not doing anything wrong, per se, and yet it feels wrong. Unfortunately, the Jason Wu line didn’t make it to either of the Targets in my town. The nearest appearance is about 25 miles away, and I’m not intrigued enough to spend the gas money. I’ve been too disappointed in their previous collaborations.

    As for American Living…my main issue with that line was my issue with JCP in general. I loathe shopping in their stores; it’s just not a pleasant experience. But all items I’m interested in are almost always sold out online. Makes it hard to be a customer!

  3. It’s like on Extreme Couponers when the shelf-clearer said ‘Oh well, you should’ve made it here before me’. It’s frustrating but isn’t this the sort of thing America was built on? Free enterprise? Capitalism? The American Dream?

    Why do so many Americans scream about socialism but then cry over this sort of thing?

  4. I don’t know it is obnoxious but not illegal and being a big supporter of free enterprise, I just am not going to “go there”. I mean they ARE buying the merchandise, and if Target is getting backlash for it, then its up to THEM to bear the responsibility to enforce whatever limitation rules they deem appropriate. The consumer should be angrier with Target vs. the people triyng to make a fast (but technically honest) buck. Just my opinion. I think the responsibilty is Targets and THAT’S where people should direct their anger. Interesting debate topic:)

  5. BroncoMom

    This subject hits my hot button! Several weeks before the line was to debut, I circled the date on our family calendar with happy thoughts of making a few choice purchases. Not only was I unable to find anything in the store, I was unable to purchase anything on line. Just a few minutes ago a search was made on E-bay where I found an ample supply of Jason Wu handbags for more than the original price. Target should place limitations on each of the same items purchased for everyone to have a chance to make a purchase.

  6. I have one word to say about the Jason Wu situation- GREED. Our free market system has been corrupted by greed. Supply and demand dictates that people can buy out the store and then resell at higher prices, someone else will buy it. I wish Target would just stop these limited edition collaborations.

  7. When the Liberty collection debuted at Target, I drove to a store that generally isn’t Liberty’s demographic, and got there about 15 minutes after opening. They had nothing – not because it wasn’t sent to that store, but because two women had come in and filled two carts each and cleared them out of every.single.thing.

    I certainly understand capitalism, free trade, etc. but we as Americans have some very ugly traits, and being very selfish is one of them.

  8. I struggle with the same issue re: people buying the Target goodies for re-sale – the libertarian in me thinks it’s totally fine & a sign of a healthy free market economy, while the normal person / shopper wishes Target would implement those completely reasonable H&M restrictions already.

    What I’m not struggling over is my disbelief at the critical acclaim for the line . . . I’m admittedly something of a Target collaboration naysayer, but I felt the quality of the Wu collection was particularly iffy. I was intrigued enough by the promos to go in person to check it out Feb. 5th, and I was uniformly disappointed in the construction.

  9. I have mixed feelings. I think those who clear shelves and mock others for not getting there sooner are just total jerks. But I think a store putting a limit on what one buys just because of a few jerks is insane too. Rite Aid just updated their policy to say that customers may only shop once per day. So if you forget something, tough luck. I get that part of the PR is about the “limited quantities” that will be available. But if they just made more of popular items, it would cause less chaos. Maybe add something in their policy about a manager’s discretion to limit if they see folks like this who will clearly re-sell. Then again, re-selling isn’t illegal. Just rude.

  10. There were sadly very few DC Targets selling the line — their first mistake. My closet Target, 2 blocks away, only had the FULL line out for LESS than an hour before it was completely sold out. In fact, if you showed up by 10 a.m. on Saturday you would’ve thought they had yet to put the line out. There wasn’t a trace.

    I’m all about free enterprise and making a buck when possible, but it was ridiculous. I bought pieces online at 4 a.m. (hello insomnia), but this was a major disappointment as the dress with the pearl neckline I wanted wasn’t available by 8 a.m. within 50miles of D.C.

    Come on Target. It’s time to come up with a new strategy. Maybe online-only WITH rules. I don’t even know.

  11. MMS

    I didn’t even know that Ralph had a line for JC Penney.

    I read on twitter that some Targets actually did institute a limit of only one of each item per customer. I really think that Target needs to look into doing that for all of its collaborations. These collections were intended to bring good publicity to Target and potentially new shoppers, but all they’re doing is giving it more bad press instead.

  12. I agree, I think Target needs to enforce some restrictions on their shoppers, just like the supermarket when they have a sale. I was lucky enough to get a Missioni sweater, but only because it had been returned and was missing it’s tag. I don’t even bother looking for the Target collections any more, the quality is a bit disappointing and I know they will be sold out in seconds.

  13. My Target was sold out of everything by 11:00 on opening day. I did manage to get the blouse I wanted, but I will admit, I am getting turned off by these collaborations. Too much of a pain for acrylic fabrics!

  14. Just glanced at completed listings for Jason Wu Target on ebay. Indeed some did sell but there are more remaining unsold.

    No idea what’s right or wrong, mildly disgusted at the ugliness and boldness of greed, but angry beyond words at Walmart on its lack of security on Black Fridays where consistently people are injured, a few deaths and now pepper sprayed.

  15. It’s been so interesting, watching televisions recorded from before the Jason Wu event hit. He’s such a doelike creature, and it feels like I can see the future:).

  16. Lauren

    Jason Wu for Target: Not illegal but definately shows the selfishness and greed of some people. I personally was never interested in the line 1) because nothing was in my size and 2) nothing looked appealing.

    American Living for JCP: I did know this line was designed by Ralph Lauren and it was always the first thing I looked at in the store. Unfortunately it was never in my size. I’ll be sad to see it go. While I applaud JCP’s new pricing system in theory, there’s not much chance of getting me into their stores anymore. I loved their ‘$10 off a purchase of $10 or more’ coupons but hose are gone. Any clothes I order from them I order online because that’s the only place that carries tall sizes for women. And now no American Living!

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