My Two Cents: Target’s Ava & Viv Review

Yesterday I got to finally see the Ava & Viv line at my neighborhood Target stores. Needless to say I was not impressed. For a company that claims they wish to improve their relationship with plus size customers they have gone about it the wrong way, using the very poor practices that got them negative criticism in the first place.

introduction

To start I was surprised that to find no promotions for the launch of the line save for blog posts by Chastity Garner of  Garnersyle, Nicolette Mason and Gabi Gregg of GabiFresh. To be honest I half expected Target to make the additional effort to air a look book style commercial for the line on television, if not the days leading to the launch at least the day before. Of course, there was nothing. To date there is only one video on the line and its blogger models which is ridiculous if you compare it to the three videos on the 2013 collection by Philip Lim. There was no hype surround the launch before, after or even during.* While I didn’t get a chance to get to Target on Sunday, February 22 to experience this for myself, I haven’t heard or seen anything that contradicts this point. It seems like Target’s new line is not something they are  proud of. Its much like that boyfriend who is dating a plus size girl and is making sure to keep it a secret because he is embarrassed. Sure Target claims it has no qualms with its plus size customers but they won’t associate themselves with us much, they just want to make sure we continue to patronize there stores.

That said let’s take a look at what Target is (currently) offering with this Ava & Viv line.

1. Frumpy, shapeless shirts and dresses

While I wasn’t expecting much I will say I did expect Target to step it up with these pieces but there is nothing dazzling or striking about anything. These are the same kinds of pieces they used to carry and that can also be found at other retailers. They are very shapeless and not truly attractive on the hanger.

a and v dresses

Left: Denim dress [I am wearing a 2X since the 1X was MIA] | Right: Short (flutter) sleeve dress in “Fifties Pink”. [Wearing a 1X but it is so big and baggy a size X would have fit better.]

I only tried a couple of pieces to write this review but as I walked through the three racks of clothes I was joined by some fellow plus size ladies, each of which scanned the racks, picked up some garments for a closer look only to put it right back without any hesitation. One even told her mother to put one of the sweaters back on the rack because it was maternity!  Considering the fact that there is no clear marker differentiating maternity from plus size I really don’t blame her for her confusion.

20150223_190911

Sigh.

2. Same cuts, different prints and colors

same top different colors

Someone please tell me that I’m wrong because to me these are cut the same just one is a button up.  [Wearing a 1X]

The pieces are exceptionally repetitive. I’ve been known to buy two of the same pieces in different colors just because they work in my wardrobe, but to see the same blouse cut 3 to 7 different ways is just lazy and tired. It makes me feel like Target is saying to me that this is all we deserve.

3. Very small number of pieces

The Ava & Viv line has a total of 90 pieces, less than 10 were available in the Targets I visited which implies that most of my shopping may have to be conducted online. Considering the straight sizes cover the entire floor space dedicated  it is very easy to notice the disparity here.

20150223_190856

Three racks? That’s it?

Not only that but the line was interspersed with the Pure Energy pieces which, funny enough, did not  seem out of place on the racks since there’s noting spectacularly different between the two lines. I would have been impressed if the line had at least half the amount of pieces that the straight sizes have all with a color spectrum that doesn’t scream monochromatic.

But wait, one silver lining : The Heather Grey Long-sleeved Blazer

blazer pics

Very true to size! Here I am wearing the blazer in a 1X. To get it online click here.

Of everything I tried on  I really liked this grey blazer. The fabric is great, the cut is flattering and the style is on point. If only the rest of the line could have included this much style in its pieces. This blazer demonstrates that Target has the capacity of creating some pretty amazing things, they just lack the motivation.In reality Target didn’t even need to create a completely different line, they could have just expanded on what they currently offer in the straight sizes.  Of course, designing and creating plus size clothing isn’t as easy as just making the pieces bigger but even if they had used their current offerings as inspiration this line would be so much better.

bct target plaid blazer

Pictures from the Stilettos & Sequins blog by Dhruvi. Go check her out.

For example, I know if I had seen this Xavier Navy suit set offered by Target listed for this collection in a 1X or 2X online when they first announced the Ava & Viv look book on their site I would have been the first person on line outside the store calling dibs as I waited. I doubt that I’m the only one.

Anyway, did I buy anything? No.

However, I do have plans to purchase the grey blazer once I get my next paycheck. Though a part of me wants to wait for it to go on sale, I strongly believe that supporting the line may help get Target to finally see the light and put out more collections. Sure my purchasing this one blazer may not actually make any noticeable difference but I figure it wouldn’t hurt provided someone out there agrees with me and does the same. Will Target ever get it right? That is yet to be seen, but considering that bloggers such as Garnerstyle, GabiFresh and Nicolette Mason have been partnered with them we may see some improvement as they (hopefully) continue to release more collections for fall and winter.

Have you taken a look at the Ava & Viv line? Did it fail to inspire awe?  Have you bought anything or are considering to? Do you think another boycott (à la Garnerstyle) is necessary to get Target to finally make a real effort? Let me know in the comments.

NOTE: I will be presenting a paper on Target and its failed relationship with the plus size community this April at the Popular Culture and American Culture Association National Conference to be held in New Orleans. If you would like to help sponsor my trip to this event click here. Thank you for your support!

*Update: I found out this morning that Good Morning did air a segment on the Ava & Viv launch featuring Gabi Gregg of  GabiFresh. Click here to watch the video on Yahoo News.  This is a start but where are Target’s own promotions? 

About this series: “My Two Cents” is a personal opinion series dealing with observed industry practices as well as society’s accepted concepts on body/self love and standards of beauty. It is meant to spark discussion on issues which I have deemed in need of addressing. Any ideas for discussion are welcomed and may be made in the comments or via the contact page.
Thanks for reading!

9 thoughts on “My Two Cents: Target’s Ava & Viv Review

  1. Zoë says:

    I just returned home from Target this afternoon. I’ve been eyeing the Ava and Viv line during a few quick store trips but I hadn’t had time to actually stop and check things out.

    My local store had a much larger selection than yours, it seems. While I did notice that many of the styles, cuts, and prints were repetitive and some unflattering, a few pieces did catch my eye.

    I purchased a pair of black leggings, a staple for me. While I have yet to try them on, they feel great. The material is thick, with just the right amount of give. They won’t be sheer or see through, and it feels like they won’t stretch out and become misshapen through a day of wear. At a price point of $17.99, they’re double the cost of my go-to Mossimo Supply Co. leggings from the juniors department, but they seem worth it. Now, I just have to wear them.

    I also purchased an “oversized” marled grey cowl neck sweatshirt. I say oversized because I purposely bought two sizes up, but it looks like it was made to be a bit big to begin with. The material is slinky and comfortable – perfect for my pregnant self to lounge in, paired with the leggings.

    Lastly, I purchased a deep green jacket… it looks a bit military inspired. I was pretty excited about this find, and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. The material is thin, so I don’t predict that it will offer much weather protection, but it will be easy to dress up or down.

    Overall, I’m definitely going to give the line a shot. Hopefully Target is using this as a first step to upping heir plus size game.

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    • Marlena says:

      I can only speak about my experience at the Target stores in NY, specifically in Queens, New York since I really don’t visit the other locations. Prior to writing my review I went to two different Target stores and found their stock to be very limited. I then made a point to visit two more (one of which is Long Island) after writing the review and was shocked to find the same thing at those locations too. I am glad to see that Target did keep their word in releasing more pieces after the launch of the line and I have noticed that some pieces have been embraced by some women but I am honestly not impressed. Am I glad that some people, such as yourself, has managed to find some pieces that work? Yes. Do I believe that purchasing pieces from the line will get Target to see the light and embrace the potential for plus size fashion? Yes. But I still stand by my original assessment that Target still has a long way to go.

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  2. TJ says:

    Ava and Viv is mostly uninspired boo boo garbage. Target could have left that alone. Pure Energy was at least kind of funky and interesting sometimes. This stuff is so basic in the worst sort of way and what it lacks in interest it fails to make up for in quality or classic style. Boxy polyester shells in garish prints, shapeless dresses and sweaters. Ugh!

    I’ve gone to try on various pieces twice only to walk out with nothing because the very best piece I could find was just ok and much of it wasn’t a bargain even at a sale price. Target gets kudos for offering plus sizes in the Lily Pulitzer collaboration but stores didn’t carry any of it and everything sold out online within a week. Typical Target miscalculation and stupidity. You can’t even find bras and panties in larger plus sizes at Target anymore. They clearly don’t want our business so why even bother?

    See what happens when you actually do put in the effort to make real fashion in plus sizes, Target? People buy it despite your insistence on making it inconvenient and online only while your half-@$$ garbage in-store attempt is on the clearance rack and you’re using Cartwheel coupons trying to get rid of it. What is it you still fail to understand?

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    • Sara Robinson LMT says:

      It sounds like my store in Iowa may have more than your location, but I was pleased to see this line at target. Of course, I don’t have many choices in general for true plus size clothing: Wal-Mart, which is uninspired and frankly too “old” for me or Lane Bryant, which is either ill fitting or way over-priced. Being a larger woman who loves bigger clothing that are flowing, flattering and age-appropriate clothing, I’m glad to see the bright colors and cuts that are great for the office. I don’t love everything, but I appreciate this line at my location.

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  3. LLWB says:

    My trip to Target today turned out pretty good. I never really looked at Target’s plus size clothing because they are not as cute as the clothing that they have for the smaller size women. The colors were always drab and dark. I took a closer look at the Ava & Viv plus size clothing line today for the first time and I must say that I was a little impressed. Some pieces were not all that great, but I ended up buying the lime green layered tank and the coral colored bat wing top(which i absolutely love) and they fit quite well. The colors are vibrant and fun like me!! Lol! The fabric is good quality. The prices were reasonable for plus size clothing. So overall my trip to Target was not in vain. So on my future trips to target(which I tend to have frequently) I will be looking at Ava & Viv!

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  4. Mirna says:

    I totally agree! I found a blouse I really liked on the website but the website said it was unavailable online. So I went to the store only to find it wasn’t there either! I didn’t even know they had plus line available til I sucked it up and went and looked, I find it embarrassing to have to wear men’s t-shirts all the time because they fit.

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  5. Tashia says:

    Why can’t I tell Ava and Viv how I feel? #1 biggest complaint is with their button down dresses and blouses, the arms are wayyyyy too small for a fat girl! Come on, they design these HUGE clothes, but then cut them slim through the arms??? Target I thought you were better than this!

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