Contentious Target LGBTQ Designer Gets an Unexpected Surge in Interest

Target Corporation’s  (TGT) – Get Free Report annual Pride merchandise rollout has become a subcultural pre-holiday event in the past few years. But this year, as many companies gear up for corporate-sponsored Pride events worldwide, a vocal (and, according to Target, violent) minority of customers have pushed the massive retail chain to rethink LGBTQ+ pride merchandise, including those for children and transgender customers.

In an effort to quell what Target calls “volatile circumstances,” one particular artist was singled out. UK-based artist Abprallen contributed three designs to Target’s 2023 Pride collection: two outer-space-themed messenger bags and a sweatshirt reading “cure transphobia, not trans people.” But other items sold by Abprallen (but in no way affiliated with Target) stirred up enough controversy to prompt the removal of his work from physical and virtual store shelves.

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Erik Carnell is a London-based artist and the artist behind Abprallen. He’s also a trans gay man and said of the initial release that he felt “especially happy at the thought that young closeted people will see [my products], and I hope that in some way they’ll feel a bit more comfortable in themselves, as we all deserve to feel.” 

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While support for his products from Target disappeared, the Abprallen store has seen an outpouring of support. According to the store’s Etsy message, Carnell has seen an “unprecedented number of orders” since the backlash began.

“Your support during this extremely difficult time means more than I can express,” Carnell posted after placing the shop on a temporary hiatus. “I am putting my shop on holiday mode and not accepting new orders until I catch up on the ones I currently have. Thank you so much for your understanding!”

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