Targeting the Gay Designers, not the Big Box Shoppers

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Targeting the Gay Designers, not the Big Box Shoppers

Weeks after gay activists not only started a nationwide boycott of the Minneapolis-based Target Corp., but also protested, burst out in store theatrics and caused social media havoc, the Big Box merchandiser has informed the Human Rights Campaign that it will not “correct” its $150,000 pledge to an organization that supports an anti-gay gubernatorial candidate.

As soon as the HRC made Target’s pronouncement public yesterday and issued a pledge to spend $150,000 of its own money to elect a “pro-equality” governor, the Tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos started to roll in, including one in which a gay high school marching band takes over a suburban location to sing “Target ain’t people/so why should it be/ allowed to play around with our demo-cra-cy” to the tune of Depeche Mode’s “People are people.” HRC’s president Joe Solmonese had this to say: “If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut and that’s not something that we will soon forget.”

The people have certainly spoken – in myriad ways. But what about all of those fabulous designers Target has brought to the masses? What do they have to say? One must only spend five minutes of quality Google time to find out that Target is the low-budg home to many a gay designer, including Zac Posen, Jean Paul Gaultier, the late Alexander McQueen and Thomas O’Brien, and gave rise to Todd Oldham and Isaac Mizrahi.

Mostly, it’s not even “no comment.” It’s no statement at all. Not one of these designers has come forward to denounce Target’s new-found political voice, a complete 180-degree-turn from the gay-friendly image it created by supporting gay pride parades, domestic partner benefits and of course, pure chic. If LGBT people stopped purchasing Jean Paul Gaultier and Zac Posen altogether, the two designers might decide to speak up. If the two designers spoke up, Target would be faced with potentially losing two of its biggest money-makers in recent years – Gaultier’s collection nearly sold out last spring and Posen’s recently opened to grand fanfare.

Meanwhile, protests outside Target stores continue.  Fifty protesters descended on a new Chicago store last Saturday in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. And residents of San Francisco mobilized last week to attempt to hold off the opening of two stores in the area. But this is a case in which it might prove more advantageous if fewer people spoke out, over the masses. Until those influential designers end their political silence, however, then gays should aim for them and not completely at Target.



Comments [3]

ShadowCat's picture

damnit target!

now where am i going to buy my argyle/striped knee socks??

SMBrown's picture

Really disappointing--thanks

Really disappointing--thanks a lot, GUYS!  I doubt the male-dominated HRC will be taking these designers to task anytime soon either.

Thanks for reporting on this--I hadn't thought of this angle previously.

Grace Moon's picture

Pretty insulting

now why would these designers what to endanger their cash cow for the benefit of their community?

tweet tweet @gracemoon