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eBay's Banking on Emerging Designers to Build Its Fashion Cred

Photo: <a href="http://www.ebay.com/rpp/designer-collective">Ebay Designer Collective</a>
Photo: Ebay Designer Collective

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Ebay has long been trying to shake the secondhand-seller stigma within the fashion community that's followed it since its launch as an auction site. According to a report by Business of Fashion, eBay's current strategy to woo fashion consumers includes launching various initiatives with both US and UK designers to become a platform for supporting emerging talent.

"Previously, if I am honest, I don't think we necessarily had the right destination for fashion in terms of look and feel," Melanie Smallwood, head of curation and merchandising at eBay UK, told BoF. "From a utility perspective, we have always been pretty strong. But what we needed to do was to marry utility with engagement. The logical next step was to think about how we can support and mentor new and up-coming designers in terms of being a marketplace."

According to Smallwood, eBay UK sold over $4.4 billion dollars in fashion inventory last year. The platform is a potential game-changer for young designers who can benefit from eBay's massive consumer base. As BoF pointed out, connecting with young buzzy designers in a place where they need eBay's selling power (and eBay needs their fashion cred) could prove to be a successful partnership for both sides.

But it all comes back to shaking that stigma with consumers who want to make sure that the products aren't secondhand or fake goods. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NDP Group, says that eBay still continues to struggle with convincing customers that "the product is authentic and of the same value they find in stores."

Update: eBay UK has sold over $4.4 billion dollars in fashion inventory. In the US, eBay has sold over $15 billion dollars in fashion inventory.

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