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Ajit Berg puts a scarf on her daughter, Isabella, 22 months, to show some of the Missoni designs they purchased at Target. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Minor Missoni madness: Trendy line at Target creates only small-scale buzz locally

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Minor Missoni madness: Trendy line at Target creates only small-scale buzz locally
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

FARGO - The Missoni for Target collection sold out within minutes online and in many stores, crashing the retailer's website and frustrating eager shoppers nationwide.

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But the Italian designer's bright stripes and loud chevron patterns are still available in limited quantities at Fargo-Moorhead stores.

The limited-time collection debuted Sept. 13 to frenzied fashionistas, and crowds picked over Fargo's Target quickly, but on a smaller scale.

The first day or two, shoppers cleared most of the Missoni clothing and housewares out of the aisles in both Fargo and Moorhead. But many Midwestern stores get smaller quantities than major markets, said Tommy Clingman, a manager at the Fargo Target.

Clingman's store sold about $16,000 in Missoni the first day; larger markets within the Minnesota-based retailer sold upwards of $100,000, he said.

So what's so big about a stripy sweater or some zig-zaggy dishes?

"I knew Missoni was coming out with a line for Target a long time ago. I wasn't all that interested in it," said Megan Bartholomay-Berreth, a Minnesota State University Moorhead graduate student.

But once her fashion-industry friends in New York and LA started begging via Facebook for any and all Missoni merchandise, she decided to check it out.

By the second day, the clothing was completely picked over, Bartholomay-Berreth said, but she loaded her cart with accessories and housewares. And the second-day crowds? Still crazy, she said.

"There were literally people running around the store," Bartholomay-Berreth said. "But when I say people were pulling stuff off the shelf, it was like 12 women, not like 2,000."

She decided to keep a few of the items - a bag and a serving bowl. And the rest of the merchandise that her East and West Coast friends didn't want ended up on eBay.

By now, the fervor has somewhat subsided.

Signs hanging in stores warn customers that what you see on racks is all they're getting, but a few items continue to trickle in, Clingman said.

A handful of sweaters and skirts may show up in the morning shipment but are again picked over within a couple of hours, he said.

"Product may trickle in over the coming days and weeks, but no product is being restocked," said Joshua Carter, a Target Corp. spokes­man.

Calls to stores in Moorhead, Grand Forks and Fergus Falls revealed there's still some Missoni on the shelves, but quantities are very limited and going fast.

Nationwide, upset shoppers who had orders either canceled or delayed have criticized Target for not being better prepared.

But both Carter and Bartholomay-Berreth said the Missoni craze has been unprecedented.

"If you look at the wildest trends in the last 20, 30 years - Cabbage Patch Kids, Beanie Babies, Tickle-Me-Elmo - they're all for kids," Bartholomay-Berreth said.

"With this ... everything about it is bizarre," she said. "There's no other trend you could associate with it."

Readers can reach Forum business editor Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511

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