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You’ve Heard of the Drop. Target Had It First.

Lines formed outside Target stores and, in at least one instance, the company’s website crashed. Sold out within days or even hours, those wares were snapped up for resale on eBay at prices inaccessible to the very shoppers Target initially hoped to lure.

John Zolidis, an analyst with Quo Vadis Capital, a research and investment firm, recalled the chaotic scene that followed the company’s 2011 Missoni collaboration. “I remember walking into the store and seeing the product sold out completely,” Mr. Zolidis said. “The fixtures were ravaged by the customers, and people were complaining online that they didn’t get to buy. In some ways, it was considered a debacle.”

In retrospect, it was a smash, earning the store the affectionate sobriquet Tar-Jay and spawning similar pop-up partnerships at H&M, Kohl’s and other mass-market chains.

Street wear, for its part, has stepped up the pace, its drops occurring weekly, not annually or seasonally, and focused on goods with a shelf life of no more than a day, and prices that could strain the most lavish budget. To compare Target’s program with contemporary drops may seem a stretch.

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