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How an NSU student's design ended up in 700 Target stores across the country

After some encouragement from her teacher and classmates, Mekenzy Linder submitted her work to Target for an HBCU design competition.

NORFOLK, Va. — A Norfolk State University art student’s design is now in stores across the country. 

What started as an assignment for Mekenzy Linder’s art class, ended with her design on the shelves at Target.

"I was like, maybe this is a pretty good design," she said.

Linder said she was inspired by a Twitter thread on cultural appropriation.

"Things that we started as trends as ourselves," she said.

After some encouragement from her teacher and classmates, she submitted her work to Target for an HBCU design competition.

"I ended up submitting it I think on the last day," Linder recalled.

Then, just a few weeks later, she won.

Credit: Mekenzy Linder

Linder, along with two other students from HBCUs in Georgia, got the chance to showcase her work on t-shirts for Black History Month.

Their designs are now being sold in 700 Target stores nationwide and online.

Credit: Mekenzy Linder

"For me, I don’t think it really hit me until I actually saw it in the store," said Linder.

She said when her family got to see the shirt for the first time in the store, they spent an hour taking pictures and went home with six of them.

"I see people when they tag me, like when they wear my shirt, that’s like when I’m kind of in shock," Linder said.

Linder also won a $3,000 cash prize, some electronics and $1,500 to go to NSU. Though, she said inspiring other people to pursue their passions is the biggest prize of all.

"I hope it gets more people to get into art, especially like Black artists considering going to HBCUs to study art. I think that would be like a great thing because I got this whole opportunity just from going to an HBCU," said Linder.


If you want to grab one of Linder’s shirts for yourself, you have until the end of the month.

This is Target’s fourth HBCU design challenge. Last year, Hampton University student Trajan Baker was one of three winners. His design was called "We Rise."

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