The online retailer already shifts a lot of clothes. But can its first properly fashion-aware brand, Find, win the approval of style insiders?
What features on your order history at Amazon? Cat food? The final volume of the Neapolitan novels? The Game of Thrones box set? Expect to add trend-led clothes to your basket from today – Find, an own-brand fashion line from the online retailer, has been launched.
This is the latest attempt by the site to dominate fashion the way it does books. Amazon is extremely successful in the business of selling clothes and is likely to become the biggest apparel seller in the US this year. It has a fashion section on the main site, it bought online shoe retailer Zappos in 2010 and own the Shopbop site, but, so far, a foothold in fashion proper has alluded it. Before Find, Amazon’s take on fashion felt too much of a broad church, with products in grids presented the same way that the deals of the day are: useful, but faceless. There’s no mood and no glamour – and fashion demands both of these things.
Find, then, is surprisingly fashionable for a company that, in a Google search, flags up “low prices in electronics, books, sports equipment and more” to tempt you in. Images from the ad campaign show clothes that tick the autumn/winter trend boxes – trench coats, blazers, the slogan tee, the obligatory red dress – but are pitched at a digital native with an eye on her Instagram followers. Prices reflect that. They are a bit cheaper than Topshop, a little more expensive than Boohoo – there are shirts for £30, sock boots for £52, jeans around the £35 mark.
The archly everyday location – a 60s suburban housing estate, complete with a garage door backdrop and zebra crossing – chimes with the mood for the “real” in high fashion. The images owe a lot to the Zurich Locals photography projectproduced by the Vetements brand. But it never gets too arty. Like an advert from Ikea, these images show a cool lifestyle – the Kondo-d kitchen, the shelfie-ready books, the kooky poses – but the products themselves are largely uncomplicated. Not everyone will want a pair of stirruped leggings or hot-pink sock boots. But pretty floral frocks and pinstripe blouses are the stealth pieces that could sell by the bucket-load.
Amazon is taking a risk of sorts with Find. The obvious route to attract the everywoman who shops on Amazon might have been grown-up clothes of the kind found in Marks & Spencer, say, or John Lewis: sensible purchases that form a sort of sartorial add-on item on the main site. Instead, this is closer to River Island or Miss Selfridge and speaks of the influence of a fashion insider team rather than that of an algorithm. But, if a company with European revenues of £19.5bn in 2016 and a teeny tax bill of £15m can’t take a risk chasing the fashion dollar, who can?