Amazon is using Prime Day this year to try to win in fashion

On the morning of June 25, mega-fashion influencer Arielle Charnas, who’s collected more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram and has her own clothing line Something Navy at Nordstrom, announced when Amazon’s Prime Day would be kicking off this year.

It was a not-so-subtle signal about what Amazon hopes to accomplish with its annual deals extravaganza this year. It still wants to be a bigger name in fashion.

When you think of Prime Day, you might be thinking about deals on Instant Pots and Amazon Echo devices — not half-off dresses and designer heels.

But the market for apparel and accessories globally is worth more than $1 trillion, so Amazon clearly sees there’s a lot at stake here. It’s using Prime Day to tout fashion deals. And it’s also had a slew of recent initiatives and tie-ups with fashion influencers — beyond Charnas — to show it’s trying to establish the site as a place to shop for more than just the basics. It hopes to take market share as other apparel retailers are struggling. And it hasn’t been afraid to experiment.

Typically, when it comes to selling clothes, Amazon is really good at “the boring stuff,” Wells Fargo retail analyst Ike Boruchow said.

Wells Fargo has estimated that Amazon generated roughly $35 billion in sales in 2018 related to apparel and footwear, out of $232.9 billion in sales overall. For context, athletic apparel retailer Lululemon brought in $3.3 billion in sales last year, while Gap Inc.’s net sales were $16.6 billion, and Costco has said it generated $7 billion in sales in 2018 from clothes and footwear. Amazon dwarfs them all, even combined.

But a lot of those transactions for Amazon stem from “commoditized” clothing items like white T-shirts, jeans and underwear, according to Boruchow. Amazon’s in-house brand, AmazonEssentials, is popular for that sort of thing — selling a four-pack of women’s camisoles for $24.50, or a 10-pack of cotton crew socks for kids for $9.45.

Bezos’ vision for fashion

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos frequently told colleagues in the early 2000s: “In order to be a two-hundred-billion-dollar company, we’ve got to learn how to sell clothes and food,” according to the book profiling Amazon’s ascent, written by Brad Stone, called “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.” At that time, Bezos set his benchmark based on the size of Walmart’s sales, Stone said.

Amazon surpassed $200 billion in annual sales for the first time in 2018. That figure includes revenues from its other businesses like Amazon Web Services, not just retail. Meanwhile, Walmart’s total revenue was $514.4 billion for its latest fiscal year.

Amazon is trying to sell more fashionable clothes today as mall-based apparel retailers like Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Dressbarn-owner Ascena Retail Groupand Forever 21 are closing stores and struggling to draw-in shoppers. And department store chains like J.C. Penney and Macy’s, which have historically been reliant on their apparel businesses to drive sales growth, are shrinking. It’s been estimated retail store closure announcements could reach 12,000 this year, setting a record, with many of those stemming from apparel-based businesses like Charming Charlie and Charlotte Russe.

This Prime Day, which kicked off Monday at 3 a.m. ET and runs for 48 hours, will put Amazon’s latest efforts to be a bigger fashion destination to the test.

Lessons from Prime Day

Prime Day 2019 will include hot deals on staple items, like sweatshirts and socks, but also is promoting Amazon’s own fashionable items to highlight the range of clothing it offers.

Ahead of Prime Day this year, Amazon was pushing deals for as much as 50% off leggings, accessories and more, Jacquelyn Cooley at analytical intelligence company 1010data said. Fashion items very well could be on the top sellers list this year, considering how the deals are panning out, she said.

h/o: amazon fashion homepage on prime day
On Prime Day, Amazon is touting 30% off Calvin Klein and deals on some of its own exclusive apparel merchandise.

On Monday morning, button-down shirts from Amazon’s Goodthreads line were 30% off, its own Lark & Ro dresses were 50% off, and certain Calvin Klein and Adidas merchandise was 30% off. Charnas took to social media again to tout her #PrimeDayPicks, including items from Amazon Essentials, Splendid and Rebecca Taylor.

Overall, this year’s Prime Day could bring in as much as $5.8 billion in sales globally, up from an estimated $3.9 billion in sales in 2018, when the event ran for just 36 hours, according to Coresight Research.

Beyond Prime Day

But a fashion business isn’t built on a two-day sales event. Amazon has seemingly been amassing an army of fashion influencers on social platforms like Instagram, bringing with them tens of millions of followers altogether, to write posts with taglines like “I #FoundItOnAmazon.”

Women including Paola Alberdi, Sierra Furtado, Emi Suzuki, Leonie Hanne and Patricia Bright each have more than 1 million followers on Instagram. Now, they all share something else in common. They’re working with Amazon to promote the platform as a fashion destination — alongside their posts about Reformation, Revolve, Channel, Rebecca Minkoff, and other trendy and luxury labels.

One of Amazon’s new influencer-focused ventures called “The Drop” went live in May.

With The Drop, Amazon is partnering with fashion influencers like Bright, a U.K.-based vlogger known for posting chic looks and night-out outfits to her Instagram, and Furtado, an LA-based YouTuber known for her more laid-back style. These partners are designing limited-edition apparel and accessories collections that Amazon will then create in-house.

There’s a scarcity element involved because shoppers are only given 30 hours to shop each influencer’s collection before the next one is dropped. A text alert notifies shoppers when a drop is happening. Amazon also says on its website it only makes limited quantities of each drop, so products are expected to sell out.

The Drop sounds a lot like fast-fashion retailer Zara’s strategy, which has found success by never making the same thing twice, only shipping limited quantities of items to stores, and rotating inventory frequently to keep shoppers coming back again and again to flip through racks of clothes. Amazon appears to be taking its own stab at this approach.

In order to be a two-hundred-billion-dollar company, we’ve got to learn how to sell clothes and food.
Jeff Bezos
AMAZON CEO

Amazon also has its own subscription box program akin to Stitch Fix called Prime Wardrobe, where users can pick out a handful of clothing items, try them on at home and then only pay for what they want to keep, shipping back what they don’t want.

And just last month it launched an artificial intelligence tool called “StyleSnap.” Within Amazon’s app, users can either take a photo or upload an existing image of an outfit, and StyleSnap will use machine learning to “match the look” with clothes for sale on Amazon.

Making shopping fun

Still, analysts and fashion experts agree that navigating Amazon’s website for clothes often is more arduous than it is enjoyable. The website’s design isn’t desirable for discovering new things or new brands. Most people shopping on Amazon go there knowing exactly what they’re looking for. With fashion, Amazon must figure out how to make the experience more fun.

There’s also reluctance for brands to partner with Amazon because they lose autonomy over pricing and marketing, founders have told CNBC.

On the whole, it hasn’t been easy for Amazon to entice popular fashion brands to sell there. The majority of product listings on Amazon’s fashion page are from third parties. This is likely one of the reasons why Amazon has been incubating so many of its own apparel and accessories lines in-house. It has more than 60 today, according to tracking by TJI Research, like Core 10 for women’s leggings and sports bras, and Goodthreads for men’s khaki pants and button-down tops.

More clothing sales shifting online

Separate data from eMarketer shows Amazon is on track to grab nearly 30% of the market for apparel and accessories sold online in the U.S. this year, up from 22.7%, or about $18.38 billion in sales, in 2016.

But remember: U.S. e-commerce sales still represent less than 15% of total retail sales, according to eMarketer. The majority of purchases are still happening in bricks-and-mortar stores.

RBC Capital Markets’ retail team is predicting 40% of apparel sales in the U.S. will take place on the internet by 2023, up from closer to 30% today. Currently, RBC says e-commerce accounts for roughly 20% to 25% of clothing and accessories sales for most retailers. For specialty retailers it’s closer to 29%, for department stores it’s about 24%, and for off-price retailers it’s just 2%, according to the firm.

And in a survey of 1,000 consumers in the U.S. ages 18 to 34 released in June, RBC found more than 50% of respondents say they start their searches for clothing online on platforms carrying numerous brands, rather than directly from a single brand’s website. That could end up boding well for Amazon.

“We believe Amazon could have a material presence in fashion, over time,” RBC said in a recent note to clients. “That said, we believe that Amazon would need to respond to changing style trends at a faster pace, especially with its own private label inventory. … Also, Amazon could improve its browsing experience for fashion customers — try searching for ‘women black dress’ and you will get over 350 options.”

[“source=cnbc”]

Skechers GOrun 7 review: Best running shoes in this price range

Skechers GOrun 7 helps in easy foot movement and provides great support.

Get it for Rs 9,999 (Men), Rs 8,999 (Women)

When it comes to sports footwear, Skechers is a brand known for comfort. Apart from casual daily wear, they also have a lineup of performance oriented sports shoes. The latest in their performance series is the GOrun 7 – a lightweight running shoe with what Skechers calls the ‘Hyper Burst’ midsole.

Skechers GOrun 7's outsole has good flexibility.
Skechers GOrun 7’s outsole has good flexibility.

Thanks to the knitted upper, the shoe gives you a snug fit and unhindered breathability. We like that the insole can be removed if you Find it a tad too tight. The unique design includes two pull tabs on the shoe which allows for quick and easy wearing/removal. The webbing-style lacing system stays locked during exercise and ensures the shoe doesn’t become loose. And at just about 220 grams per shoe, GOrun 7 is one of the lightest running shoes available today.

Another highlight is the new midsole that provides excellent energy return (it’s a noticeable boost while walking/running) without sacrificing on comfort. We used the shoes on surfaces like grass, treadmills as well as concrete roads and found them to be well balanced with superb grip.

Skechers GOrun 7's highlight is the new midsole that provides excellent energy return
Skechers GOrun 7’s highlight is the new midsole that provides excellent energy return.

The outsole has good flexibility which helps in easy foot movement and provides great support. Skechers has added rubber pods on the outsole that are designed for extra traction while running, especially on uneven surfaces.

Overall, we think the GOrun 7 is amongst the best running shoes in this price range. At this price, you’re also spoilt for choice with good options from Reebok, Puma and Adidas.

[“source=economictimes.indiatimes”]

This designer creates shape-shifting cabinets

Image result for This designer creates shape-shifting cabinetsThis designer creates shape-shifting cabinets.

Sebastian: I think art and design are two different disciplines. If you create art that incorporates a certain degree of functionality or design that incorporates these more emotional components, then hopefully you’re enriching both disciplines in parallel.

Sebastian: Hi, my name is Sebastian ErraZuriz, and we’re at R & Company. It’s a design gallery based in New York City.

The cabinet series is called “Breaking the Box.” It’s full of pieces that spin, rotate, transform, and shine.

Sebastian: This box is called “Magistral,” and it’s made from 10,000 corn dog skewers. This one needed to look like either a hedgehog or some sort of protecting fur, so that it would seem like it was protecting your belongings.

He’s been building these kinetic pieces for the past four years. After showing the cabinets in small settings, he shared a video of one on Vimeo in 2015.

Sebastian: We made this very crude video, probably with my phone. We posted the video online, and the video had sound. You could hear the ‘tick tick tick tick’ of all the pieces moving together, each one pulling each other. And we immediately had requests from all sorts of press that they wanted this video. And then everyone on social media wanted the video. And that was the first time that I realized I was onto something.

But it’s not an entirely new concept. These kinds of moving pieces have been around for centuries. In the 1990s, transforming furniture played a big role in mid-century modern design.

Sofa Bathtub.

Piano Bed.

The pieces can serve multiple purposes, hide secret compartments, or save space.

“The Piano Shelf” was the first piece he created for this functional art series. The “keys” are all movable. They’re each long enough to fit large books or sculptures, and they’re thick enough to eliminate bookends.

Sebastian: Finally, the gaps in between are quite aesthetical but really you won’t have a book that’s thin enough to fall through them. So more or less, everything obeys logic as opposed to aesthetics.

He sees a box as an object to be broken out of.

Sebastian: And I believe if we can constantly revisit the idea of the box and break it down in a variety of different formulas, we’re always inviting the audience to understand that whatever your constraints are, there is always a way to hack them.

[“source=thisisinsider”]

Weather: England records its coldest night this winter

Walkers on a snow-covered Beachy Head near Eastbourne

Walkers on a snow-covered Beachy Head near Eastbourne. Photograph: Ed Brown/Alamy

England has seen its coldest night of the winter so far as temperatures tumbled across the UK. A low of -10.9C (12.4F) was recorded at Chillingham Barns in Northumberland in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Met Office said.

In Scotland a low of -12.6C (9.3F) was seen at Braemar in the Highlands, although it was a few degrees off the -15.4C seen there on Thursday. Elsewhere on Sunday morning the coldest spot in Wales was at Swyddffynnon in Dyfed, where -6.5C (20.3F) was seen, while in Northern Ireland the lowest temperature recorded was -2.6C (27.3F) in Katesbridge, Co Down.

Forecasters earlier said there was the potential for a low of minus 16C (3.2F) to be seen in eastern Scotland overnight following a blast of cold weather than brought severe disruption to large parts of the country.

Several weather warnings have been issued for Sunday and Monday mornings, although some respite is expected with milder conditions moving in at the start of the week. Icy stretches will continue to be a hazard in parts of southern England and East Anglia into Sunday morning and a yellow warning is in place until 11am. A warning remained in place for snow and ice for a swathe of western Scotland reaching from Inverness in the north to the outskirts of Glasgow in the south.

“Much of the UK’s dry, but across the north-west and west of Scotland there are some snow showers,” Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said. “There is a weather warning that will be in place from 7am onward as that band pushes eastwards.

“It will be a cold, frosty start for many and then there is the risk of some more rain, sleet and snow coming into western Scotland by the end of the night into Monday morning.”

After snow left travellers stranded in many parts of Britain, people across the country struggled to get back to normal on Saturday with drivers returning to collect cars they had been forced to abandon at the roadside during the snowfall – up to 14cm deep in some places – while workmen were clearing roads of ice, snow and debris.

Dozens of football, rugby and hockey matches were postponed as a result of snow and icy grounds, with Accrington Stanley’s League One game against Blackpool the most high-profile casualty.

At the Jamaica Inn, off the A30 near Launceston in Cornwall, where 140 people had camped out on mattresses on Thursday night, staff made preparations in case Sunday night brought more disruption.

Sammy Wheeler, the general manager of the inn, said: “We’ve still got the beds out and we’ve told the Highways Agency we’re on standby, ready if they need us. But, thankfully, last night all the roads seemed to be moving.”

A toboggan steers down Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset, on Saturday.
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A toboggan steers down Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset, on Saturday. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Workers from the Highways Agency and local authorities had cleared all main roads by mid-morning on Saturday, but there were still big clear-up efforts in some places.

In Walderslade, Kent, workers used diggers to remove branches and trees that had fallen due to the weight of snow. Kent police said it had been an “incredibly busy night … trying our hardest to move stranded vehicles”.

Several police forces were dealing with the aftermath of collisions. In Thornaby, Teesside, a car smashed through the front wall of a house after skidding off the road on Friday night.

The M3 had been blocked when three lorries came to a halt, and on Saturday snowploughs and gritters cleared snow from all lanes.

Coastal areas saw sleet and rain, with snow showers further inland on Saturday morning, but by the afternoon most of the country was bathed in frosty sunshine.

On Monday there will be more snow and ice in much of Scotland, the Met Office has said.

[“source=theguardian”]

From blue hair to garment bags: this week’s fashion trends

What’s hot and what’s not in fashion this week

Lady Gaga
 Blunette Lady Gaga. Photograph: Getty Images

Going up

Blunettes From Lady Gaga to Kylie Jenner, blue hair is everywhere.

Resentment Harness your negativity for a better life, says Sophie Hannah, author of How To Hold A Grudge.

Quinotto That’s quinoa risotto, of course.

Cultural altars Visionary fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner’s debut exhibition features an “assemblage of shrines” by notable artists, just opened at the Serpentine Gallery.

Grace Wales Bonner.
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 Shrine on: Grace Wales Bonner. Photograph: Alamy

Garment bags The new bumbags, according to Vogue. See Gucci, Alexander Wang and, er, your local dry cleaner.

Pizza wheel eyeliner Forget fiddly pens; rollers promise to fulfil all cat-eyed ambitions.

Going down

Olivia Pope There’s a new fixer in town. See Trinity Sommer in Dogs Of Berlin. A black patent mac and matching suitcase are the new white trouser suit.

Rhinoplasty Non-invasive “tweakments” are becoming more popular as cosmetic surgery fans opt for “lunch-break” procedures.

Gap yah string bracelets Bangles are back, according to Chrissy Teigen’s stylist, who recommends a layered approach.

H20 Waterless beauty is set to take over the skincare market this year, as manufacturers step away from the tap.

Pastels Wear neon green to boost your mood, à la Kendall Jenner. Sorry, coral.

[“source=theguardian”]

This #XLBossLady Brings Plus Size Fashion To LA

Jessica Hinkle, Owner of Proud Mary FashionJessica Hinkle

Access to fashion has arguably been one of the greatest struggles for the plus size community. Clothing isn’t just fabric we use to cover our bodies. It’s how we articulate who we are in the world. Few people know this better than Jessica Hinkle, the owner of LA-based Proud Mary Fashion. I interviewed Jessica about her journey into becoming an #XLBossLady:

I’ve been fashion-obsessed since I was a child. My parents would buy me notebooks and I would fill them all up with sketches. I’d sit in front of the tv watching runway show clips and sketching clothing. I also knew from an early age that the fashion industry wasn’t accessible for someone like me (fat and poor.) It always felt worlds away, kind of like trying to become a movie star. My parents moved us to Florida my senior year of high school. When I found out my new school offered apparel design classes, I immediately signed up. On the first day, the teacher talked me out of taking the class (to make way for freshman she said) but I really was made to feel like it wasn’t a place for me. I felt really judged and pushed out. I was heartbroken because I finally felt excited to find a resource to learn the things I wanted to that wouldn’t cost anything. After that, I had approached my parents about attending art school but they said absolutely not.

My parents both grew up poor and neither graduated high school. I think they felt like art school was lofty and impractical. They didn’t think that a fat girl could make money in fashion and the student loans would be outrageous. I wasn’t confident enough to push back or in a position where I felt like I could make it work without their support. So I figured I could at least study Creative Writing at the community college and one day get a job working at a fashion magazine.

[“source=forbes]