The highly anticipated Hunter and Target collaboration is finally here. On Sunday, thousands of lucky customers got the chance to shop the collection early during the Hunter x Target Ultimate Family Festival at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
For a deeper dive into the collection, FN had the pleasure of speaking with Hunter’s creative director Alasdhair Willis about how the partnership came together. “It was incredibly fast,” he said. “From start to finish — in terms of meeting, starting a conversation, going through the process of concept generation, and moving through mood boards — I would say, it took 12 months. If you think about all the collaborations out there, it’s usually based around a few products or one style rolled out in various iterations, but that wasn’t the case here. We applied our idea to 300 pieces and that was a monumental effort.”
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From a design perspective, Willis and his team completely kept the customer in mind when creating everything from the camping gear to the rainboots. “It was very important to us that we made the collaboration unique and not a diluted version of Hunter,” he explained. “I was very adamant that we had to apply some of the iconic design language particularly in the original boot because that connection of who we are needed to be visible.”
Willis went on to address that it’s the brand’s goal to reach a wider audience with this line. Instead of making their price points higher and higher, Hunter made a strategic move to produce a range of items under $80 in hopes of gaining more of the U.S. market, which he mentioned has consistently been their largest audience. “There might be a number of conversations around the boot having similarities to our original, but that’s intentional,” he pointed out. “We wanted to communicate what is an iconic piece of design and put it into place where it reaches more people.”
There were, of course, challenges along the way, but Willis believes working with Target’s large scale of production only made Hunter stronger. “The biggest challenge was getting that balance right,” the executive emphasized. “Hunter moved into new categories like outerwear and accessories, but we’re still known for our boot. We had to make sure we were delivering something that had enough of the Hunter brand and at the same time, was unique enough for the Target guest. Additionally, we were surprised with Target’s speed. You can’t be delaying things by 48 hours or a week. If a decision had to be made, it had to be made now and that environment was exciting.”
However, if he could go back, Willis revealed that he would have loved to see the Hunter and Target bike come to life. “I couldn’t wait for that,” he shared. “It was a piece that as much as anything was a way of representing that sense of freedom, the spirit of the collaboration. Unfortunately, the clock ran out because it needed more time to develop properly. That was a bit of a disappointment, but there were so many other wonderful products that came out of it.”
Whether you add an adorable rain jacket to your wardrobe or pick up a convenient fanny pack for festival season, you won’t be able to pass anything up. The line is officially available in-stores and online starting April 14, except REDcard holders who will have early access beginning April 7.
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