AMAZON ISN’T EXACTLY the most stylish place to shop for clothes. Most of its top-selling women’s fashion items are simple pieces: easy dresses, spandex workout gear, socks, and underwear—a lot of it from brands you’ve probably never heard of. But that doesn’t mean Amazon isn’t a powerhouse for apparel sales. As traditional department stores have declined, Amazon has become one of the most popular clothing retailers in the US, especially among millennials.
The company has its own in-house clothing brands, as well as subsidiaries like Shopbop for higher-end women’s fashion and Zappos for shoes. Now, Amazon is experimenting to attract a new, more fashionable segment of consumers: social media influencers and the people who love to follow them.
Earlier this week, the company announced the Drop, a series of limited-edition fashion collections designed in collaboration with influencers. (Amazon is calling them “international trendsetters” in some of its marketing materials.) Paola Alberdi, who has 1 million followers on Instagram, designed the first collection, which included pieces like a $60 pink blazer and a $25 sleeveless white T-shirt. The items were only available for 30 hours, and Amazon claims every piece is made to order, so as to “reduce waste.” The Drop also includes an accompanying line of basics, which is always in stock.
Amazon has more resources to experiment than most clothing retailers, and it’s possible the Drop will come and go like many of its past initiatives. In order to compete for shoppers that flock to ecommerce fashion brands like Zara, Revolve, and Asos, Amazon will need to cultivate a cooler image. It’s best known as the convenient place to buy un-sexy items like toothpaste and detergent. If it seems like shopping for something on Amazon—like, say, a coat—is anywhere remotely close to becoming a trend, it's literally a news story.