"I want to create a narrative that anyone can participate in," the editor and stylist tells Fashionista.
Target has a new fashion collaborator: The retailer teamed up with none other than fashion editor and stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson on a new collection with Future Collective, its new(ish) in-house ready-to-wear label designed with a rotating crew of style influencers.
Karefa-Johnson joins the program's roster as its second participant, following editor and content creator Kahlana Barfield Brown. She tells Fashionista that it was important to her that the pieces feel special, simply because a lot of people purchase much of their wardrobe at Target.
"I certainly buy my clothes at Target," she says. "My first interview I did for a magazine, I got a Target blouse because that was one of the few ways that I could access fashion within my price point and within my means at the time."
Karefa-Johnson wanted accessibility to be an anchor for this collaboration. In line with Target's mission to select "diverse points of view in fashion" for Future Collective, her apparel line is just as vibrant and infectious as her personality.
There are nearly 100 items to be released over three seasonal refreshes, with the first one launching Jan. 29. (The final one is slated for March.) For the inaugural drop, there are irresistible closet staples and experimental silhouettes too good to pass up: bodysuits, printed cardigans, denim jackets and more. Sizing ranges from XXS through 4XL, with pieces priced under $50.
While walking through racks of bright dresses and mannequins dressed in matching sets, Karefa-Johnson mentions that many of the looks were subliminally informed by her childhood in Southern California. "We didn't even talk about this in the design process," she says.
Another unspoken inspiration? "I literally designed the outfit that Reggie Rocket wears in that 'Rocket Power' cartoon," she says, holding up a fuschia-slash-teal cardigan with military green cargo pants.
As a stylist, Karefa-Johnson sees the journey of creating her first clothing line as another method of storytelling.
"My impulse is usually about the final look, and this process differed from that in a lot of ways, because it allowed me to be an active participant in all the process, not just the final product," she says. "But I want to create a narrative that anyone can participate in, and that should inherently be inclusive."
She realizes mid-explanation that the "person" she wanted to initially cater to described herself: "What was so interesting is even from swatches to sketches, I was always thinking about what story we should be telling until I realized I'm the person who's telling this story."
Overall, the process has been nothing short of eye-opening for Karefa-Johnson, who also works with Gigi Hadid on her knitwear line Guest in Residence.
"I literally can't wait to do it again. I'm very much addicted to the idea of creating clothes with really brilliant people who really know what they're doing," she says. "Learning from them and their expertise, but also infusing myself and my DNA into such a legacy brand like Target — it's just very nice to be a part of the family, in that way."
Target's Future Collective with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson will be available to shop on target.com and in select retail locations on Jan. 29. Ahead, browse everything you can shop from the first drop. (And stay tuned for more to come.)
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