Manhattan’s first-ever Target on East 117th Street in Spanish Harlem opened for a party last night, with an in-store performance by Doug E. Fresh, catering from local soul-food restaurants, and the flashy “New New York” logo on T-shirts and step-and-repeats. The 174,000-square-foot superstore has already been advertised with a full subway wrap, and managed to nab exclusive swimsuit, towel, and T-shirt lines from Isabel and Ruben Toledo. But Ruben wouldn’t call it a diffusion line. “It’s just what you do, design is design, whether it’s a $5 thing or a $500 thing. Good design is good design,” he explained. “Target produces in mass, so it can be cheap to the customer. If we had made it in our studio, unfortunately it would have cost $500 for the same towel.”
So the design process is the same? “It’s absolutely the same, maybe even a little harder when you do mass because such a huge range of people are going to have it,” he continued. “This little clip” — he motioned to the hook holding up a velvet rope — “could be a Cartier clip, and it could cost like $250,000, or it could just be a regular stainless steel one and cost five bucks.” But was the clip pretty? “It’s gorgeous!” Ruben said. “Utility is always pretty,” Isabel chimed in. “If something works, it’s beautiful. Including people,” Ruben added.