One morning earlier this month, Cassidy Glynn woke up extra early before work and made the 15-minute walk to her local Target store in downtown Minneapolis.
The clothing brand she designed had just dropped and the 23-year-old couldn’t wait to get her eyes on how it all looked.
When she saw the clothes and the brand’s name, Wild Fable, on display, a couple of “overwhelming” feelings came over her: Excitement. Pride.
And, then, relief. Glynn could finally share what she and a small of team of female designers at Target had been working on for the past year.
“It’s going to sound so cliche, but it was the most surreal feeling,” she said. “I was so excited to see everything. And I was just excited for everyone else to see it.”
Following two “nerve wracking” months of post-college job searching, Glynn, a Bettendorf native and Bettendorf High School graduate, landed a dream gig as an associate designer at Target Corporation, which is headquartered in Minneapolis.
At her interview, she was told, “We’re working on this new brand. You’re not allowed to know about it, but it’s a youthful collection.”
That’s basically all she could tell her family and closest friends when they asked how her new job was going.
Glynn kept the secret until Aug. 3 when Wild Fable launched at Target’s 1,835 stores across the country.
Passion for art and fashion
Art has been part of Glynn’s life for as long as she can remember.
When she was in kindergarten, her family turned a small storage closet underneath the staircase into Glynn’s drawing room. She covered the walls with color.
Around that same time, she began taking classes and attending art camps with Pat Bereskin, or Mrs. B, a Bettendorf-based artist and teacher who now owns Bereskin Gallery and Art Academy. Glynn took weekly classes with Mrs. B until she started at Iowa State University in 2013.
“With her artwork, she always had her own voice and style,” Bereskin said. “I could always pick her art out from all the others.”
Bereskin felt the same way after getting her first look at Wild Fable on Target's website.
“When you look at it, you can just tell it’s Cassidy,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Bereskin sent her former student a congratulatory text and shared the news on social media, telling her Facebook friends this: “Every time you go in Target, look at that line of clothing and say, ‘She is from Bettendorf, she grew up here, and with hard work, she is living the dream!’”
Glynn has long categorized art — and fashion —as much more than a hobby.
“It was my way of expressing myself,” she said. “It was just something I always wanted to be going and I couldn’t get enough of.”
As Glynn said, her life’s circumstances sort of pushed her in that direction.
Because of a heart defect she was born with, Glynn, who had open-heart surgery when was 2, couldn’t participate in sports or most gym classes. But she found plenty else for her at Bettendorf High School.
“I couldn’t run fast or do other things like my friends could, but that freed me up to take every art class that was offered,” Glynn aid. “It really was a blessing in disguise.”
She spent her free time sketching and getting inspiration from fashion magazines and would often remodel her clothes, adding jewels to plain shirts, for example, to make them her own.
“I thought it was so cool that I was wearing something no one would else had,” she said. “It probably wasn’t the cutest, but I was really proud of it.”
At Iowa State University, Glynn’s passion and eye for fashion flourished. She was accepted into the school’s revered apparel, merchandising and design program and she spent a summer studying abroad in London, where she took classes at the London College of Fashion.
“It was a lot of hard work, but I learned so much,” Glynn said of her college years. “I was figuring out who I wanted to become as a designer.”
A brand for 'every girl'
Glynn and her team’s work on Wild Fable started with finding inspiration — in part on Instagram — for current and upcoming apparel trends for young women, specifically teenagers and those in their early 20s.
“We’re trying to get young people and new people to shop at Target,” she said. “That’s the goal. So we did a lot of research and we asked young women, ‘What do you want to wear?’”
The result is, as described by Target, a “trendy, mix-and-match brand that allows young women to make each look their own.”
“The hope is that this brand will be around forever,” Glynn said. "We just want to keep it going from here."
At the Target store on Elmore Avenue in Davenport, the Wild Fable section is placed near the front right of the building. It has the look and scope of a store within a store.
The retro-inspired line is comprised of hundreds of items, each costing less than $40, such as eclectic denim, an oversized yellow rain coat, a red leather-looking jacket, basic tops, patterned sweaters and mini-skirts, floral dresses, sweatpants, rompers and accessories such as scrunchies, a cheetah print backpack and hoop earrings. Sizes range from 0 to 26W.
That last point is something Glynn is “really proud of.”
“It was really important for us to be all inclusive,” she said. “This is a brand that’s new, cool, creative and for every girl. We feel like that’s really needed and unique.”
And, by every girl, Glynn includes herself.
Glynn can “shamelessly” say that she has been to Target — luckily there’s a retail store inside the corporate office — each day since Wild Fable hit stores.
Her family members, friends from high school and college have visited too, and sent texts Glynn’s way detailing their favorite looks.
Glynn said she’s planning a trip to the Quad-Cities to see Wild Fable in her hometown Target.
“I grew up going to Target with my friends, and I’m still obsessed with it,” she said. “When I see (the Wild Fable) clothes there, I’m just speechless.”
To celebrate the line's launch, Glynn went out for drinks with her friends, wearing a Wild Fable outfit she designed and purchased earlier that day at Target.
Has she bought more since?
“Yes,” she said. “Literally so much.”