Local designer rips Target’s Boston shirts: ‘They missed the mark’

Target pulled its “Green Monstah’’ shirt after criticism from Sully’s brand founder Chris Wrenn.
Target pulled its “Green Monstah’’ shirt after criticism from Sully’s brand founder Chris Wrenn. –Eric Levenson / Boston.com

Target removed one of the Boston-specific T-shirts in its “Local Pride’’ collection after criticism from local designer Chris Wrenn, who founded Sully’s Brand 16 years ago.

But Wrenn still isn’t satisfied, and remains critical of their entire line of Boston-related items.

“There’s really nothing local about this,’’ he said on Thursday. “I think they missed the mark.’’

The criticism comes about a month after Target introduced a line of shirts and knickknacks with local Boston references to coincide with the new Target superstore in Fenway. The shirts are emblazoned with stereotypical local references, including “Wicked Smaht,’’ “Green Monstah,’’ and “How Bout Them Apples.’’

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The clothing line was designed by Todd Snyder, a native Iowan who has previously worked with a who’s who of popular New York fashion companies. He told the The Wall Street Journal last month that he got inspiration for the shirts by touring Boston and going to the Cheers bar, visiting Fenway, and taking a trolley tour.

Snyder and Target also plan to unveil Local Pride clothing lines for Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in coming months.

That outsider status irked Wrenn. Earlier this week, he took out a full-page ad in the Boston Herald to criticize Target’s choice of Snyder.

“Outsourcing Boston Pride to NYC?’’ he wrote. “The home of the Yankees? The Evil Empire?! Say it ain’t so, Target. Say it ain’t so.’’

In particular, Wrenn said Target’s “Green Monstah’’ shirt was awfully similar in design to a shirt his company has created and sold for the past 10 years. Target bowed to that pressure on Wednesday and removed that shirt from shelves, according to Boston Business Journal.

Wrenn said he spoke to a PR representative from Target on Wednesday and told them they still hadn’t addressed the central issue.

“My suggestion to them … was they need to have a local voice contributing to this, if not tapping a local designer to be involved in each of these cities,’’ he said. “It was misguided of them to think they could just hire an outsider to go to all these cities and just get inspiration to sell back these pride T-shirts.’’

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Wrenn said he could foresee similar issues arising in each of those cities.

“There are brands like Sully’s in Chicago, in San Francisco, in Los Angeles, where the Todd Snyder Target collaboration is going next,’’ Wrenn said. “These brands are going to find themselves in a similar situation, where perhaps Target is going to be inspired by the exact same things they are, and they’re going to have their markets flooded with similarly designed T-shirts.’’

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