Utilitarian fashion is in. Black and white colorways and no-nonsense tailoring are anything everyone is talking about, from runway collections to fast-fashion collections.
When designers do it, utilitarian is cool. When Amazon does it, it’s a fashion disaster.
The trillion-dollar e-commerce and tech company doesn’t exactly scream style, despite selling its own line of Amazon basics in their Fashion department.
What Amazon does do well is sell, and sell effectively and efficiently, right from the product’s creation to doorstep delivery.
There’s a phenomenon known to most businesses as the “last mile,” an enormously costly and careful process of delivering a finished product to a consumer’s porch. This last step in a successful purchase accounts for nearly 50% of delivery costs, accounting for time, labor, and the environmental impact of packaging and shipping. That is to say: as much as e-commerce is more profitable than a brick-and-mortar operation, it’s still quite expensive.
For labels itching to increase their profits, direct-to-consumer operations are often the way to go– there isn’t shaving off a percentage of a sale to line their pockets. But for archaic labels unable to increase their presence or newer, baby brands strapped for cash, looking towards online commercial websites to help sell their product is essential.
Enter Amazon: the world’s most profitable company home to the world’s richest, baldest man.
What originally started as an online bookstore in 1994 has become history’s most successful business venture spanning e-commerce, supply chains, digital streaming, artificial intelligence, high-tech zero-employee bodegas, and anything else you could possibly think of. Say anything, Amazon has most likely got it. Even Telfar bags.
This summer’s hottest it-bag designed by CR 17 star Telfar Clemens is available for purchase on Amazon after being highlighted by Oprah Winfrey’s favorites of 2020 list. If you haven’t managed to snag the shopping tote in between the bag security program and limited bot-festered drops, look no further.
Telfar’s totes becoming available at the click of a button with 2-day Prime shipping is just one of the latest attempts of Amazon’s foray into the fashion world. The company launched its high-end concept earlier this fall, providing Amazon consumers with a tailored in-app experience aimed at luxurious fashion purchases. Aptly named Luxury Stores, the new “store within a store” department makes it easier than ever to get designer goods from your couch.
It’s the equivalent of a Sak’s window, with models showing how each garment would fit to your body type in a 360-degree interactive view. The platform’s first partnership was with well-renowned ball gown designer, Oscar de la Renta, but has grown to include brands like La Perla, Roland Mouret, Cle De Peau, and Altuzarra.
Not everyone can access Luxury Stores though. The platform for Prime members is on an invite-only basis, but you can get on the list.
Amazon’s Luxury Stores concept seems like an attempt to correct the platform’s past shortcomings between brands and consumers. Nike halted all relationship with the retailer in 2019, citing that the retailer prevented direct, personal relationships with the athletic company and its Amazon customers. With Luxury Stores, brands are able to control the narrative– directly managing their imaging, prices, and branding within Amazon’s app.
For Oscar de la Renta CEO Alex Bolen, the choice to move to Amazon was an easy one. The platform would massively expand the label’s horizons and market share.
“We want to be able to talk to [the customer] wherever she’s comfortable shopping,” Bolen said. “This idea that you don’t want to speak to a customer where she’s spending a lot of her time is a mistake.”
Despite Luxury Stores attempting to change the narrative, Amazon isn’t traditionally considered a high-fashion space. For every La Perla lingerie set is an Amazon Basics cotton 6-pack of underwear. However, Bezos’ brainchild is eager to win high-fashion over, competing with the e-commerce platforms of department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, as well as brand’s webstores.
So eager that they’re suing influencers to show their commitments to claiming a stake in the high-fashion pie.
Earlier this month, Amazon launched two lawsuits against Instagram and TikTok influencers abusing their Marketplace department to sell counterfeit designer items. The suit alleges that nearly 13 social media gurus were convincing their large audiences to shell out money on knowingly-fake ‘dupes,’ a violation of the platform’s policy. In August, Amazon began allowing brands to remove counterfeit listing themselves as a part of their Project Zero initiative. Its Counterfeit Crimes Unit launched two months earlier, working with federal prosecutors, analysts, and investigators.
It’s apparent Bezos and his crew are eager to court big-name fashion brands. Who wouldn’t be?
In the midst of a pandemic that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, labels are barreling into the Holiday shopping season, proving e-commerce is more important than ever before– especially when it comes to buying nice, expensive Holiday gifts. Global sales soared 71% throughout April and June, per Salesforce data.
Demand isn’t letting up, so neither should Amazon. But can the platform truly become a top dog among established fashion retailers?
In 2018, Amazon overtook Macy’s as the most important clothing dealer in the country, cementing its place as a major garment dealer in the country. In an oversaturated market full of young and eager designers excited to get their work out to the world, cutting a deal with an established retailer like Neiman Marcus may not be the most feasible. While turning to Amazon may not be the first move with online boutiques like Farfetch and SSense, the world’s largest shopping platform has all the resources and nearly billion in funds to set designers up far more than any other website ever could.
For the retailer to move into the luxury sector, acquiring trendy labels should be at the top their Christmas wish list. Now, it’s just up to Amazon to abandon it’s solely fast fashion label and opt for an elevated one instead.
Dibs on the first Primed Telfar bag.END
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