Target’s private labels have been called a “bright spot” in the retailer’s business.
Private brands in general are hot right now, as customers are realising that they can often get quality products for a lower price point when buying outside of a major brand name.
Target has capitalised on the trend by revamping its house products into more exciting brands to get shoppers back in stores. It’s already done so with its children’s clothing brand, Cat & Jack, and yielded impressive results.
Now it’s turning its attention to men’s clothing, women’s clothing, and home decor. The women’s line — A New Day — and men’s line — Goodfellow — have launched recently in Target stores across the country.
Whenever a stylish but relatively cheap new line becomes available, a certain fashion-forward section of the internet becomes abuzz with people posting pictures, fit reviews, and commentary. Seeing previews, some commenters on Reddit’s men’s fashion forum expressed excitement for specific pieces — one even called the collection’s styling “FIRE.”
A particular point of excitement was that Goodfellow would offer a jean made out of a special kind of fabric, called selvedge denim, for only $US40.
I figured it was time to judge this Goodfellow for myself. I visited a local Target in New York City to see if the retailer could lure in budget-oriented shoppers with the promise of cheap, on-trend fashion — and maybe convince them to pick up a pepper mill or package of muffins on the way out.
After wandering around the store for an embarrassing length of time, I finally found it: the men's clothing section, all decked out with its new Goodfellow line.
The assortment, quite frankly, surprised me. It seems Target has done its market research here, and it's crammed in everything that could be considered a current trend. There are T-shirts, jackets, casual pants, dress pants, outerwear, and a whole assortment of accessories.
There's also an assortment of shoes, which I made the decision to ignore completely. Though the designs looked nice, cheap shoes are generally best avoided, in my opinion.
Some pieces, like this rugby shirt, reminded me of something a cartoon character might wear, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Overall, the collection was neatly presented, but it still didn't quite match the presentation of a mall store. The prices, I noticed, were higher than Mossimo and Merona, the brands that Goodfellow is replacing. They still aren't as high as prices you'll find at mall stores, though.
Yeah ... it's definitively not leather. Still, it's an aesthetic I didn't expect to find here. The jacket costs $50.
I stumbled upon this chore coat-like jacket that I really liked. I loved the colour and the design, but I ran into a problem that I would run into throughout my visit -- my size (small) isn't on the rack, and there isn't anyone to ask for sizing help.
Overall, I would judge the quality -- as assessed through sight and touch -- as better than H&M, but not quite as good as Uniqlo or Gap.
There were some strange pieces, like this stretchy, zip-up jacket that I couldn't imagine looking good on a human.
By far the weirdest thing I saw were these stretchy knit pants that looked like dress pants but felt like a pair of athletic pants.
Still, I did find some things that I liked enough to try on, including the range of T-shirts and henleys seen here in an array of colours and patterns. It was off to the dressing rooms.
Everything I tried on was size small, my usual size. This bomber jacket was shockingly trendy, but it felt a bit small when I put it on -- strange for a department store brand. I'm 5'9' and about 140 pounds, so slim fits are usually my go-to.
The tag claims it's even resistant to water -- a nice bonus. The jacket goes for $40, which feels more than fair for how the materials and construction felt.
I was certainly not a fan of the pullover sweater -- it was simultaneously too big and too long, and it somehow still made me look fat.
Still, I was impressed by the materials it was made of. I was expecting a 50/50 cotton/acrylic blend, but it's actually a cotton/nylon/wool blend. It was comfortable, soft, and didn't feel cheap. That's impressive, especially at $25.
The collection's Oxford shirt is pretty no-frills. The material is thin, and the styling is pretty standard. But it did score big on fit. Even though this is a standard small, I don't know how much tighter I'd really want it. There weren't any slim-fits at this location to compare it against, but I'm not really curious -- how slim does this collection get? The shirt retails for $25.
This work shirt was probably my favourite of the collection. It was also a standard fit, but it fit snugly. I loved the way it looked over the shirt I wore to the store. This shirt is heavyweight cotton and feels sturdy. It goes for $25.
The T-shirt I tried on felt and fit great. The cotton isn't that soft, and I would say it felt a little thin. Still, the cut was good. It's exactly how you'd want a T-shirt to fit. For $10, it's a pretty good deal. The non-patterned shirts are about $2 cheaper.
The $15 henley I tried on felt good and sturdy. It had hip cutouts on the side, which I thought was odd, but it was otherwise conservatively styled. I was not a huge fan of the fit. I like my henleys to fit close to the body, and this was a much looser cut. It was surprising considering the slim cut of the other clothes.
The collection also contained some wild pants. These, sort of a hybrid between dress pants and casual pants, were my favourite. Made out of cotton, the pants were very soft to the touch. The ones I tried on were tagged as slim fit, and I can attest that they were actually slim-fitting.
They had a really cool pattern that Target calls ebony plaid. At $30, I would have bought them had the store had them in my size, but the ones I tried on were too long in the inseam.
I also tried on a regular pair of slim-fit chinos, which were actually slim. I liked them, and for $23, I wouldn't hesitate to say they're probably a bit of a steal. The fabric was a bit stiff, but I imagine it would get softer over time. Goodfellow also has a standard and skinny fit.
The collection also has blazers. I tried on this one, which Target calls a deconstructed knit blazer. It's made from cotton and polyester. It's thicker than I expected, and I thought the fabric draped strangely. There's a point where slim goes overboard, and I found that to be true with this piece. It was too small for me in a small, but there wasn't a medium to compare it with.
Considering the styles often seen at Target in the past, as evidenced by these dreadful cargo shorts in the clearance section, the improvement Goodfellow provides is noticeable and appreciated.
It was a bit disappointing that some sizes and fits were hard or impossible to find, as it made comparing the different fits difficult. Still, I could see myself returning to browse more throughly for my own wardrobe without worrying about breaking the bank.
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