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Amazon's high fashion push continues. The e-tailer announced today that it has leased a 40,000-square-foot space in what they're describing as the "emerging" neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to shoot product images for Amazon Fashion and the company's two other apparel sites, Shopbop and MyHabit.
According to WWD, the idea behind a NY outpost is to streamline process of on-model photography for the sites and introduce additional online editorial content for Shopbop and MyHabit.
Amazon is considered the gold standard for customer experience by pretty much everyone in the fashion industry. Even PPR's swanky CEO François-Henri Pinault admits Amazon is number one when it comes to the in-cart and checkout experience. So the retailers who might be hurt by Amazon's success in the market—which is pretty much everyone, really, but especially box stores and department stores—are keeping a very close watch on the e-tailer's expansion into their territory.
The question has always been whether people want to shop for clothes the way they shop for a blender or a TV. There's an emotional component to style that so far Amazon hasn't attempted to tap in to: Clothes are as much about how they make the wearer feel as they are about function, but Amazon has stayed relatively neutral on a lifestyle or editorial stance.
And then there's also the issue of sheer volume. A commenter on our last post about Amazon's foray into fashion put it like this:
I'm tired of the massive Box-Store style websites selling fashion. I'd much rather buy from small store that has curated their offerings.
Take a look at Amazon's current offerings of, say, camel coats, and you understand where that comment is coming from:
All of the coats are lovely, but there's no point-of-view here. Calvin Klein's double-breasted trench and BCBG's leather-sleeved A-line number don't share an attitude—they merely share a neutral shade. This product page is missing the inspirational quality of a Net-a-Porter, or even a J.Crew.
Amazon's new studio doesn't intend to change that, however. WWD reports that "consumers won't see a dramatic change to the site once the studio opens," and that the move is more about streamlining logistics within the company and having a presence in New York, the fashion capital of the US. "We thought that was an important commitment to make for the city. It's not so much about making the cash register ring, it's about evolving our footprint, relationship and commitment," Amazon Fashion's new president Cathy Beaudoin told WWD. "It's not going to change the experience; it's just making it easier."