Target introduces Universal Threads, a denim line for women of all body types

It's the most body-inclusive brand the retailer has ever created.
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Target's new clothing line is the most body-inclusive brand the retailer has ever created.

The denim-focused lifestyle brand, called Universal Thread, will launch in stores and online in early February. It's the first new collection of 2018, and one of a dozen exclusive brands Target promised to release over two years as part of its plan to recover from poor sales.

In developing the line, Target says researchers interviewed nearly 1,000 women from across the country to understand what ladies are looking for when it comes to denim.

Almost all of the women interviewed said they dreaded shopping for jeans.

"Whether the rise was too long or the inseam was too short or the pair of jeans they wanted didn’t come in their size – finding the perfect fit for their body type was just too challenging," Mark Tritton, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer said in a news release.

So Target set out to solve that problem. Every item in the new line comes in sizes 00-26W – the most expansive range of any brand Target's ever developed (usually only part of a collection comes in "plus size").

Why denim? 

"Denim is a part of every woman’s wardrobe, and with fewer options in the marketplace and learnings from the brands we’ve recently launched, we’re excited to bring our guests a lifestyle brand rooted in denim that’s also an amazing everyday value," Tritton said.

The collection includes jeans in a variety of fits, silhouettes, lengths, rises and sizes, as well as tops, dresses, accessories and shoes. Prices range from $5 to $39.99.

Tritton said the most exciting part about this brand is that there’s "truly something for everyone" with an assortment of fashion and everyday pieces.

As for future owned brands, he said Target guests can expect to see "great ideas brought to life in their home, their wardrobe and more that provide exceptional value and innovative design."

How groundbreaking is it?

The average American woman is a size 16, a 2016 study by Washington State University researchers found.

While the definition varies across brands, a size 16 is usually considered "plus" – meaning that the average American woman's clothing options are limited to brands that offer plus sizes. 

And a lot of stores don't. 

Celebrities like Beyoncé, Melissa McCarthy, and Chelsea Handler are among those that have spoken out about the issue, calling out the fashion world for ignoring the millions of women with curvier figures.

Target has been a leader in the body-positive movement – last spring, the retailer was praised for its swimwear campaign that featured models with stretch marks

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