US retail chain Target Corp’s eagerly anticipated fashion collection in partnership with Taiwan-born designer Jason Wu (吳季剛) sparked a shopping craze immediately after it was rolled out in stores and online on Sunday.
According to New York and Los Angeles media reports, crowds of Wu’s fans braved freezing temperatures to line up at Target stores early in the morning, forcing many branches to open ahead of their regular opening time to admit shoppers.
A number of limited collection pieces sold out immediately after sales began, the reports said.
Target also opened its Web site, Target.com, for online shopping for the limited “Jason Wu for Target” collection items. All of the pieces available online, including pleated skirts in navy floral and trench coats in black, were sold out by noon.
A store in suburban Portland, Oregon, saw a long line forming as early as 7am, an hour before normal opening time. Shoppers swept store shelves bare soon after the opening, Target staff said.
In less than two hours after the launch, some pieces were already on eBay for resale for highly inflated prices — at up to 10 times their original retail value.
The limited-edition line is made up of 53 pieces, including dresses, skirts, tops, shorts, bags and scarves. The items first to be sold out at the Portland store were tote bags and handbags.
Apparel ranges from US$19.99 to US$59.99 and accessories are between US$19.99 and US$49.99. Luxury department stores sell Wu pieces that can retail for upward of US$3,000.
Wu, who shot to global fame in early 2009 after US first lady Michelle Obama wore one of his designs to her husband’s inauguration ball, said in a recent interview that the collection was “inspired by the vision of an American girl in Paris.”
The New York-based designer said US women want something that is quite timeless and something that they can enjoy for not just one season.
The 29-year-old also said he was heavily influenced by the style of clothing worn in French New Wave cinema and imagined his collection for women who are “a little mischievous, a little nonchalant.”
By working for Target, Wu said he was able to create an accessible collection that reflects his sophisticated design aesthetic.
“As with my main collection, special attention has been considered in every detail and I can’t wait to see girls wearing and enjoying the collection,” he said in a recent statement.
Wu left Taiwan when he was nine and moved to Vancouver, -Canada, where he learned to sew by designing and making doll clothes. He went on to study sculpture in Tokyo and later enrolled at Parsons’ The New School for Design in New York City.
At age 16, Wu began to make freelance doll clothing designs and later traveled around the world to study fashion design. Four years ago, he launched his own fashion store in New York with earnings from sales of his doll clothes and accessories.
He launched his first full collection in 2006 and won Fashion Group International’s Rising Star award in 2008.
In June 2010, Wu won the Swarovski Womenswear Designer of the Year award presented by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.