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.
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.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.
2. Same cuts, different prints and colorsThe 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.
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
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.
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!