Will Amazon’s new clothing label deal blow to High Street?

  • Amazon has launched the new Find clothing range in the UK and Europe
  • Team behind label is led by Frances Russell, former head of womenswear at M&S
  • Initial range includes 500 pieces, and aims to provide basics and hero pieces

By Fiona Mckintosh For The Daily Mail

Published: 19:55 EDT, 13 September 2017 | Updated: 19:58 EDT, 13 September 2017

The young woman turns to show off her ragingly trendy lace dress with see-through panels.

It looks as if it was picked up in some chic boutique in the Marais district of Paris or on London’s King’s Road.

Yet the outfit is from a new brand by internet retail giant Amazon.

The website you, me and 285 million global shoppers use to buy books and toys, has set its sights on fashion.

This might be wonderful news for us, but bosses at every high street fashion retailer in the country are quaking in their velvet ankle boots (an autumn must — yours from Amazon Find for just £49).

Amazon has launched the new Find clothing range in the UK and Europe. Pictured is the lace dress with see-through panels, £24
Amazon has launched the new Find clothing range in the UK and Europe. Pictured is the lace dress with see-through panels, £24

Amazon has launched the new Find clothing range in the UK and Europe. Pictured is the lace dress with see-through panels, £24

This is because once Amazon sets its sights on disrupting an industry, whether it’s books, movies — or most recently food, with its £10.7 billion acquisition of American food giant Whole Foods — it doesn’t do things by halves.

It has launched the new Find collection in the UK and Europe, with an initial 500 pieces aiming to provide both key basics and hero pieces.

And there’s a talented team in place. It’s led by Frances Russell, former head of womenswear at M&S, and includes former M&S design boss Karen Peacock and ex-Primark menswear buying director Glen George.

Amazon has a huge technical advantage, too. On top of promising next-day delivery and free returns, it has information from hundreds of millions of customers, so it can easily discover what we want, what we will pay and where gaps in the market lie.

It is also scrupulous about analysing customer reviews so it can use this information to evolve the collection, adjusting fit, fabrics and styles, and making sure the right pieces arrive when we need them. Feeling a bit chilly? Then expect to see coats pop up on the site any day now.

Not surprisingly Amazon has been accused of reducing fashion to a science, or as U.S. retail expert Doug Stephens calls it ‘an all you can eat buffet of consumerism’. 

But for you, me and every other woman in the country looking for fashion that won’t bankrupt the family finances, does Amazon Find hit the right note? Ironically, it’s rather difficult to ‘find’ Find on the enormous Amazon website. (I later discover a short cut, amazon.co.uk/find).

The clothes are displayed in the standard no-frills Amazon way which is a bit of a passion killer. But hidden amongst the staples are quite a few, rather lovely original pieces. 

At the preview of Amazon Find for fashion editors, who are notoriously sniffy about what they wear, a £77 silver shearling biker jacket, and a £65 three-quarter length grey wool check, double-breasted coat, both of which will appear on the site in mid-October, were a big hit, as were the £34 patchwork ‘Mom’ jeans, available now.

While there are many pieces I wouldn’t wear, my teenage daughters were impressed. The 17-year-old has her eye on the super-soft oversized hoodie (£18) and black mesh sports tights (£10). 

I was tempted by the double-breasted, check blazer that looks ten times more expensive than its £40 price tag, not to mention at least five pairs of shoes including velvet heels, very chic flats with a block heel and some pull-on boots.

Frances Russell, vice president of Amazon’s private collections, says that unlike many retailers, Amazon Find does not have a particular customer in mind.

‘It is for all people who love fashion but have their own sense of style,’ she says.

Of course Amazon’s challenge is to convince us it has the flair to make it credible beyond men’s polo shirts and kids’ superhero pyjamas.

But when we begin to discover the joys of a belted camel trench coat (£60) landing on our doorstep with our back-to-school shopping, I imagine we soon won’t need much convincing.

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By World Staff Writer 09/13/2017 19:58:00