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Amazon, Vogue and CFDA Give Indie Designers Household Exposure

Amazon may have finally hit on a winning collaboration to solidify its identity as a fashion destination.

The online giant’s apparel, footwear and accessories vertical has partnered with Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) on a new digital storefront dubbed Common Threads: Vogue x Amazon Fashion.

The platform, which launched Thursday, is designed to help small and medium-sized fashion businesses reach Amazon’s desirable network of shoppers. Utilizing the company’s advanced fulfillment solutions, brands can combine their chic offerings with the Amazon buying experience, which has become an integral part of many shoppers’ lives.

Kicking off the partnership, Amazon Fashion also donated $500,000 to A Common Thread, the CFDA and Vogue Fashion Fund’s (CVFF) program to support industry workers like pattern makers, cutters, tailors, embroiderers and other creatives and fashion employees through the coronavirus crisis.

“I’m thrilled to announce this partnership, and want to thank Amazon Fashion, not only for its generous support of ‘A Common Thread,’ but also for so quickly sharing its resources to aid American designers affected by the pandemic,” Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and U.S. artistic director and global content advisor for Condé Nast, said in a statement. “While there isn’t one simple fix for our industry, which has been hit so hard, I believe this is an important step in the right direction.”

Launching with 20 brands including Adam Lippes, Adam Selman Sport, Alejandra Alonso Rojas, Batsheva, Brock Collection, Chloe Gosselin, Danielle Frankel, Derek Lam 10 Crosby, Edie Parker, Gigi Burris, Hunting Season, Jonathan Cohen, Krewe, Morgan Lane, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rebecca De Ravenel, Ryan Roche, Tabitha Simmons, Tanya Taylor and Victor Glemaud, the Common Threads storefront will continue to build upon its offerings with new labels and assortments. The platform houses a mix of current spring trends and archival apparel and accessories.

Common Threads: Vogue x Amazon Fashion launch.
A spring edit from the Common Threads: Vogue x Amazon Fashion launch. Amazon

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Amazon Fashion president Christine Beauchamp said the vertical was honored to provide “immediate support” to the industry and extend services to brands hoping to reach “tens of millions of new customers” during a trying time for retail.

“Fashion is a priority for our highly engaged customer base, and we are dedicated to serving as an innovative destination for both well-known and emerging brands to grow their businesses,” she added.

CFDA president and CEO Steven Kolb said the group was grateful for the e-commerce titan’s support.

“The $500,000 donation to A Common Thread allows us to increase the number of micro-grants for brands impacted by COVID-19,” he said, adding that the platform would provide a “much-needed retail destination to introduce designers faced with existing inventory to new consumers.”

The Common Threads storefront is the most recent of Amazon’s manifold attempts at a true fashion takeover.

The e-tailer surpassed Walmart as the most-shopped apparel retailer in terms of total consumers in 2019, largely due to its vast and growing assortment of private-label merchandise. According to Coresight Research, about 54 percent of the company’s private label products are apparel-based.

As of January, the 30 top-performing brands on Amazon Fashion comprised 95 percent of purchase activity, and the topmost seller wasn’t a brand at all. “Generic” or unbranded merch tops Amazon’s apparel rankings.

But despite usurping the nation’s leading big-box retailer as the leader in clothing sales, Amazon has historically missed the mark with true fashion shoppers.

The average price for one of the company’s private-label apparel products average about $31, making it a treasure trove for bargain hunters but not necessarily fashionistas. In April, about one-fifth of Amazon shoppers said they wished the platform would add more high-end premium and luxury brands to its product mix.