Target Pride collection designer speaks out about pulled merchandise

When Target pulled Humankind’s Pride Month collection from its shelves, the CEO and founder of the gender-inclusive swimwear brand company, Haily Marzullo, said she found out from a Wall Street Journal reporter.

Six days later, on June 1, Marzullo received confirmation from Target that the Pride collection she designed with the retailer would no longer be sold in Target stores or on its website. On May 24, Target announced that it was “making adjustments” to its Pride plans after facing backlash from some customers and “threats to employees.”

Marzullo called Target’s decision to pull her brand’s merchandise “disappointing” in an interview.

“Working with a nationwide retailer afforded us significantly wider reach and increased production volume,” Marzullo said. “Target’s resources and reputation as a trusted brand were invaluable assets in furthering our mission to make gender-inclusive swimwear accessible to all.”

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Rhe retailer notified Marzullo that it “had to make some changes to the assortment to protect their team members, including swimwear.”

Target did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

The Los Angeles-based Humankind, which was founded in 2018, has worked only with Target as a retail partner, since 2021. Outside of the pulled Target Pride collection, Humankind’s products are sold only DTC.  “Target’s stores reached a customer base who may not have come looking for these pieces otherwise,” said Marzullo, who added that Humankind is a small brand with only two full-time employees.

Marzullo declined to share what percentage of Humankind’s sales the Target collection represented.