Shopping Session: Lilly x Target Controversy



I know, I know. Not another blog post on the Lilly Pulitzer x Target Collaboration (yes, there have been way too many simply based upon a few pictures published on an Instagram account… but I won’t lie, I’ve been reading them all looking for some sort of new insight). This one will be slightly different, at least on some level – that I can swear. About two months ago (how time flies!) I did a post on my thoughts on Designer Collaborations with Lower End Brands (read here).

In that post, I said that there was a lot of controversy regarding the love of fashion vs. the love of a particular brand. I also talked about the issue of the collections being immediately sold out upon release – thus ruining the idea of access to all. But there was one thing I didn’t think of in that post: exclusivity. 

Following the announcement of the collection, I was thrilled. Any excuse to shop a brand at a lower price is one I will take. But others were very upset. Some view Lilly Pulitzer as an elite privilege, saying that widespread access is unfair. I think that is an absolutely ridiculous statement to make.

Worse, lately it seems that fashion has been chalked up to the amount of money you can spend on clothes. Target is trying to fight this head on, and that in itself is something I commend. Being fashionable isn’t about spending thousands of dollars (although I wouldn’t mind a pair of Manolos, or a Celine Bag) – it is about arranging pieces into looks that are unique.

It seems others are fretting over the idea that Lilly Pulitzer could become a bigger brand because it will no longer be a “secret” anymore. Believing in that means you don’t want Lilly Pulitzer to grow and expand. Target will expose Lilly to a wider audience than it ever could on it’s own, and it is extremely selfish to halt the progress of a brand to just keep it to yourself. Plus, let’s take a moment to remember Lilly isn’t just a little boutique in a random town: it is an established company, that I would hardly refer to as a “secret.”

For those who are so terribly concerned, Lilly Pulitzer is doing something similar to what Missoni did in their collaboration with Target: creating specific patterns to only be sold in the Target store. Of the sneak peeks I’ve seen, I haven’t seen anything prints I’m over the moon with (but that might just because I’m not as preppy as others are). I’m sure this was a fairly strategic move on the brand’s part – they are still separating the “haves” from the “have nots” based on what print you’ll be sporting. But simultaneously, they are creating more designs and broadening their overall scope, which is still pretty impressive.

The one criticism of the collection I did see that I agreed with was that Target could’ve chosen a brand that was much less accessible. I do think that is an extremely valid point to make; Lilly Pulitzer is definitely more attainable than brands like Chloe, Celine, and Marc by Marc Jacobs. However, I still applaud the choice of Lilly Pulitzer, simply because it is a brand that is not just about accessories and clothing. There will be plenty of home goods (pillow, plates, etc.) and stationery as well (again, similar to the Missoni line). To be honest, I’m looking forward more to the housewares than the actual clothing.

There are others too who are saying this is not what Lilly Pulitzer herself would’ve wanted. Excuse me … Lilly Pulitzer is an entrepreneur! Yes, a designer too, but also someone who wanted to make money. Just because she was a socialite doesn’t mean she would not approve of this collaboration. I don’t think she would ever halt the progress of her company just to maintain exclusivity.

Now, I just want to end this post with a bit of a disclaimer: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, this one is just mine. I know there are some who very firmly believe this collection is a terrible mistake, but I still back Target and Lilly Pulitzer in that it was a very smart decision.

If you want to read more on this, I’ve read very similar posts – simply search #LillyforTarget (note: I’ve seen some are now blocking this hashtag from popping up in their timeline. Really?! You’re that angry?!). I really liked Marissa’s take (here),

xoxo, Jamie

P.S. These hate tweets about the collection are appalling.

This entry was posted in Essay, Fashion, Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Shopping Session: Lilly x Target Controversy

  1. Michaela says:

    Very well said Jamie! All those people who were saying those horrible things must not like Alexander McQueen or Phillip Lim because they’ve done collaborations with Target too ;)

    Michaela || The Monogrammed Midwesterner

  2. Amanda says:

    I love how you wrote this post so much! You took your own stance on the controversy and I agree with your opinions. I am excited for the collaboration because Lilly Pulitzer may seem like a “secret” yet so many women wear it nowadays, so why shouldn’t it be more affordable?
    Thanks for this insight!
    Amanda from
    Affordable by Amanda

    • The Fashion Newcomer says:

      Thank you so much! I am excited too – hoping to score some good finds! Totally think it should be accessible to all! xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *