The Designs of 3 HBCU Students Are Now Featured in Target Stores

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Target’s Black Beyond Measure collection features t-shirts and tote bags with the designs of three HBCU students.

Kah’Milah Ledgester, Sharone Townsend and Trajan “Trey” Baker won the retail giant’s 2021 HBCU Design Challenge. Merchandise bearing the winning designs is now available in Target stores and on this Black History Month.

Ledgester, a senior at Florida A&M University, hoped to emphasize Black women’s beauty through her design. Her fruit-filled piece was inspired by a discussion she had about Nina Simone‘s cover of the song “Strange Fruit.”

“I want to capture us, but I want to show how vibrant we are with fruit,” said Ledgester, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “Even though ‘Strange Fruit’ talks about pain, hurt and how we came through, it highlights the best thing we are able to do as Black women, and that is take that pain and make something out of it.”  

In addition to winning Target’s competition, Ledgester also entered JCPenney’s Young, Gifted and Black design challenge and came out on top. Her design, centered on the theme of Black Health and Wellness, is available in JCPenney stores through this month.

Townsend, a Bowie State University student in his senior year, fantasized about seeing his fashions in shops since he was a teen. His dreams have now become reality as his design, engrained with a message of unity, is in over 700 Target stores.

Townsend, who created his own brand called Stranger than Nature, will graduate this May with  with a Visual Communications & Digital Media Arts bachelor’s degree.

“There aren’t a lot of black faces in the field of fashion design. I plan to give my perspective, shake up current trends and create my own spin on what’s out there,” said Townsend, according to Bowie State University.

Baker, a junior at Hampton University, was inspired to create his first clothing design by an Instagram post of a painted denim jacket. He ordered the materials and crafted his first custom piece of clothing, emulating what he saw on the social media site.

Since then, Baker’s design abilities have been recognized nationwide and Target patrons across the nation sport merch with his graphic.

“I’m glad to be the representation of what we can bring from these HBCUs. We have a lot of talent here and I’m glad that I’m able to show that and express that,” the architecture student told WAVY-TV 10.

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