Target Gets Quirky With New Kids’ Brand Toca Boca

The mass retailer sees apparel for kids' and baby continuing to gain strength.

Target, which scored with last year’s launch of Cat & Jack, a kids’ and babies in-house brand that’s expected to reach $1 billion in sales, sees more opportunity in the children’s wear arena. Toca Boca, the first apparel and accessories collection from the maker of digital toys and other playful products, will bow on July 17, in time for back-to-school, exclusively at Target and target.com.

“Target has seen incredible strength in our kids’ business with the launch of Cat & Jack and Pillowfort,” said Mark Tritton, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, the latter a reference to bedding and decor for the younger set. “Parents have told us they’re looking for stylish and affordable options for babies and younger children.”

The Minneapolis-based retailer in February said it would overhaul its apparel and home brands, introducing 12 labels while phasing out stalwarts such Merona, for women and men, and Mossimo, men’s wear. Of the 12 brands, Goodfellow & Co., men’s wear; A New Day, women’s apparel; JoyLab, ath-leisure, and Project 62, home decor, have been unveiled.

Toca Boca’s clean lines; bright, gender-neutral color palette, and quirky details were inspired by Toca Life, a series of apps devoted to games about life on the farm, stable, school, city and vacation.

Toca Boca, which comes in sizes 4 to 16, applied the same quirky details and creative principles it’s become known for in its kids’ apps to its “first line of consumer products. We took kids’ favorite elements from the Toca Boca screens,” the company said. “True to our mission around play, we’ve injected fun and silly elements into everyday items.”

A gray dress flecked with primary colors has a laboratory beaker and cloud-face patches sewn on the front. A black-and-white dog sweater has one eye covered by a black spot and fluffy white fabric for the face. Friendly green aliens cover a boys’ black shirt and sweatpants have a row of characters running down one leg: a blue-haired girl, singing cat and boy wearing a skeleton necklace. There’s also a blue sweatshirt jacket with a skeleton peeking out of both pockets and a family of bones adorning a sleeve.

Accessories include a cat backpack made from gray fabric with large white dots. The cat’s eyes, nose and mouth are embroidered, and ears resemble the pussy hats worn by the thousands of women who marched on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, the day after President Trump was inaugurated.

“The cult following our digital toys has amassed among kids around the world is awe-inspiring,” said Caroline Ingeborn, chief operating officer of Toca Boca, which has offices in San Francisco and Stockholm. “Toca Boca’s vision is to be a category-independent brand, and the move into physical products marks a major milestone toward that goal.”

“It’s our mission to make sure no kid ever feels excluded by Toca Boca,” said Mathilda Engman, head of consumer products. “The collection was designed with inclusivity in mind, and we’re excited to see that it will be merchandised together as a collection sitting between the boys’ and girls’ aisles of many Target stores.”

Besides apparel for kids and babies, children’s decor and bedding has been a bright spot for Target. Pillowfort, which launched last year, has been a big success, according to the retailer, so it’s not surprising that Target came back with Cloud Island, décor, bedding, bath and layette products for babies.

Cat & Jack apparel includes quirky pieces such as a pink tutu worn over leggings and paired with a shirt covered with planets.

The retailer even made a play for older kids — pre-teens and teens — with Art Class, a new fashion-forward brand that features limited-edition capsule collections on an ongoing basis. For Art Class’ first partnership, called Class of 2017, which featured more than 100 items, Target teamed up with 10 young talents who put their mark on the line.

Cat & Jack and Pillowfort replaced licensed brands kids’ Cherokee and Circo for kids, respectively.

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