Amazon fashion going high end?
When we go shopping for clothes on Amazon it’s usually because we’re looking for cheap stuff. Not because we’re cheap, but because we’re among the not so financially fortunate. The Amazon fashion department is known for being a place where girls who don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes can find reasonably okay looking items for cheap.
Although Amazon has been trying to move in a more high end direction for some time, carrying items by designers such as Giuseppe Zanotti, DSQUARED2, BCBG, Calvin Klein and more, the marketplace has not exactly been a source for finding high end designer merchandise. Basically, because Amazon caters to people who bargain shop out of necessity, certain designers have not wanted their merchandise sold on Amazon. Call it snobbery, or just a sound business decision based on the knowledge that a large number of Amazon’s typical customers cannot afford a Valentino bag, but whatever the case, Amazon has not been able to attract many well-known designer labels to its marketplace. The high end designers haven’t wanted to put their stuff on Amazon either because they don’t think the stuff will sell due to the fact that Amazon’s target demographic can’t afford their merchandise, or because they don’t want their label associated with a name synonymous with thrift and ‘affordable’ quality.
Amazon fashion empire in the works?
Fashion is big business and Amazon knows this. They’re doing pretty well thanks to the millions of low-income and middle income people who flock to their marketplace to shop for affordable clothing, shoes and accessories every day. But imagine how much better they could do if upper income earners and even wealthier folks were shopping their fashion department as well? But to lure these shoppers they need to carry the high end labels that this demographic shops.
In their quest to become a marketplace not just for the poor bargain-shoppers but also for rich people who exclusively shop high end labels, Amazon has set out since about 2012 to transform the Amazon fashion image. They have been on a mission of re-invention with the assumed aim of eventually convincing luxury brands and luxury shoppers that they can do business with Amazon without having to be embarrassed.
In their effort to achieve their goals, they have gone the acquisitions route (Shopbop in 2006 and Zappos in 2009 for example), and also ventured into the fashion reality streaming business, picking up “The Fashion Fund” – a Condé Nast Entertainment produced program documenting the annual fashion design competition sponsored by Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) (watch episodes at amazon.com). On top of that, they are getting involved in the big fashion shows, in 2015 sponsoring the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s event.
Amazon appears to be going all out to establish themselves as a name to be taken seriously in the fashion game.
Amazon fashion ventures includes 7 in-house clothing brands…
According to money.cnn.com, Amazon has also launched 7 in-house clothing brands. If you’ve been on Amazon.com and seen any of the following clothing brands, they are apparently Amazon brands. Not brands that they acquired but in-house brands that they created:
Franklin & Freeman – Men’s dress shoes
Franklin Tailored – Men’s suits and accessories
James & Erin – Women’s clothing
Lark & Ro – Women’s clothing (Also available in Canada)
Society New York – Women’s clothing
North Eleven – Women’s accessories for cold weather
Scout + Ro – Children’s clothing
Whether or not Amazon will become a large enough presence in the world of fashion to convince say Chanel to start putting products in the Amazon marketplace to be drooled over by low income girls remains to be seen. But in the meantime, Amazon is benefiting by being able to offer merchandise from up and coming designers associated with the CFDA (Check out and shop The Fashion Fund designers on Amazon).
For girls like us this is of course exciting only in so far as it provides more interesting things to look at on Amazon. As it is, cheap clothing is seldom very interesting and everybody is selling the same thing. So it’s nice to see more variety and higher quality(?) in the clothing shoes & jewelry department on Amazon.com. Naturally Amazon isn’t bringing merchandise from rising stars to its marketplace to sell to girls for whom a $30 dress is a splurge purchase. So if, like us, you’re still dream-chasin’ and can’t afford to spend $300 on a t-shirt, none of this really matters to you at the end of the day. Unless of course it will eventually come to mean that the Amazon fashion department will start to cater exclusively to people in the middle income and high income bracket. For now it’s all good. They’re only adding stuff. They’re not taking away anything (yet).