Amazon gets thumbs-up as full Find collection is unveiled
Amazon’s giant leap forward in the fashion arena with its own-label Find brand hasn’t exactly taken people by surprise. But the size of the collection and its quality may have made some rivals nervous.
Amazon is, after all the biggest e-tailer on the planet and when Amazon wants to make it big in any product category, that’s exactly what Amazon does. With a design and buying team sourced from some of the biggest names in retail across Europe, and Amazon’s willingness to invest for growth, Find certainly has the potential to make a major impact, despite the tough market conditions for the fashion sector. The company unveiled the full Find collection in London on Thursday and if the reaction of the fashion press (from Europe as well as the UK) is anything to go by, it may well have a hit on its hands. The unveiling came several months after the collection was soft-launched in the spring, and just days after the company unveiled a major marketing push for the label in Europe’s ‘big five’ countries - Germany (its largest fashion market), the UK, France, Spain, and Italy. The campaign features eight statement looks for autumn/winter and can be seen across billboard and digital advertising and on Amazon itself in the Find brand shop. But as well as core seasonal pieces like those ad campaign heroes, the company will drop new product on-site weekly and its seasons will evolve rather than having strict demarcation lines. That fits the shopping behaviour of its customers who want to browse frequently, buy today and wear tomorrow.
“As we start to get feedback from our customers, as we start to get a sense of what customers like, we will be updating and iterating constantly,” Find director Glen George told Fashion Network at the event. “There’s an element where we still look at seasons, where we look at catwalks, but a seasonal mentality is only a small part of [a collection] now.” In fact, the team is just as likely to get it cues from street style and customer feedback, he said, with such feedback having already fed through into one aspect of the offer. “We get customer reviews on the site and after we soft-launched in March, one of the feedbacks that came through was about our grading at the top end of our sizing, so we’ve made adjustments. We’re constantly trying to make sure we make it better,” George said. THE PRODUCT The collection comprises trend-led pieces, classics and basics with the main unifying strand being wearability with a fashion edge. But versatility and a good fit have also clearly been priorities. “We wanted to really focus on key pieces,” George explained. “When we spoke to our customers, they all told us that they have their own sense of style. What they want from a brand is not that we should say ‘here’s a whole trend, wear this from head to toe’. But they do want key pieces that they can wear their own way. We’ve built them a collection where you’ll see a lot of the same fabrications and prints in different shapes, or the same shapes in different fabrications that customers can wear in all the different ways they’d like to. “I was looking at a survey where they’d interviewed a load of Millennials who were asked ‘who’s your style icon?’ And the most common answer was ‘myself’. That’s an insight into how our customers are thinking.”
Amazon has responded with a collection that offers customers the chance to dive into fashion trends as deeply as they might want to to just dip a toe in the water. For instance, George highlighted a silver liquid metallic dress. “The liquid metallics are real statement pieces for party,” he said. “We were really pleased with the reviews on our soft launch metallic dress [earlier this year] and we’re still seeing this [trend] coming through. We’ve learnt that a lot of customers will want to buy into a look, but one that’s slightly easier to wear, so we have a skirt in liquid metallic too and dressed it with a cashmere jumper on the site.” Similarly, Find has made a statement with its fashion check pieces but its check coat and blazer also come in plain navy for the more classically-minded. And the check trousers that come with a wide cut and a paper-bag waist also have a more conservative sibling in a classic cut with a traditional waistline, although still with detailing to offer a reason to buy from Find rather than anywhere else. “We’re trying to hit a fashion-aware, fashion-engaged customer, building a collection where we’ve got key fashion pieces and also great basics” George explained. “That makes the range very versatile and should also appeal to quite a wide range of customers. You’ll see lots of pieces that are very fashion-led but they can also be dressed down so the customer who is maybe less brave can buy it.” It’s a similar story for the jeans offer which goes from skinny (with finished or frayed hems (at £26) through to mum fits, as well as more directional wider crops with panelling and zip detail in heavyweight 80s-style vintage denim. “We’re not expecting our customers to go straight from having worn the skinny to wide legs,” George said, highlighting how the skinny remains the core jean for many women, although he did admit that “we’re starting to see take-up” of wider cuts. A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME Not all of the pieces on show at Thursday’s event are available yet with many items set to feature in Find’s future weekly drops. “One of the other key things that our customers told us is that they browse weekly,” George explained. “The idea of them shopping seasonally is very old now so there’ll be newness dropping in every week. For customers who keep coming back, they’ll always find something new.” Some of the most interesting pieces are timed for October with the company diving heavily into the celestial print trend and also vinyl outerwear for Christmas and early winter. The celestial print pieces (some of which, like a hero wrap dress silhouette, also come in burnt orange velour and other prints) really seemed to resonate with the journalists at Thursday’s unveiling. George said he’d been told that many were planning celestial print editorials for pre-Christmas.
In fact, fashion press enthusiasm was running very high at the event with much more interactive picking up and trying on than usually seen at such previews. That should result in plenty of editorials in the months ahead. But fashion editors are no longer the only influencers who count and part of the company’s marketing push behind Find will be to use other influencers to get the word out. It held an influencer event with Olivia Purvis (of What Olivia Did) on Thursday evening with the social media star spreading the word among her own followers. And that’s something we’re likely to see repeated, alongside the higher-profile major ad campaigns, as Amazon gives Find as much support as it needs to ensure that it is a success. Amazon has certainly shown that it can play the long game, frequently sacrificing short-term profits in order to drive growth. “One of the things about Amazon is we think very long term,” George said. “We’re building a brand here that will really grow loyalty over time. We really want customers to be delighted when they get the package and to keep coming back to us.”