Amazon’s entrance into the fashion world has been as long a time coming as it has been unsettling for traditional department stores and their boutique brand partners. However, rumors are circulating that Amazon wants things to move a bit faster on the runway.
According to TechCrunch, multiple sources have confirmed that the eCommerce conglomerate is looking into acquiring several successful fashion startups to boost its credibility in the category. The rumored businesses are far from obscurity, too — Everlane, Rent The Runway, Third Love, Preeline, and Le Tote are all among the names the sources reported, and any one would make a big splash for Amazon’s still-nascent entry into apparel sales.
While Amazon certainly has a wallet deep enough to cut a check to make any startup think twice, one source noted that many of these fashion companies derive a good deal of their appeal from their privately owned status and deliberate non-affiliation with a retail giant like Amazon.
“Right now, there is no way that some of the top brands would want to be seen for sale on Amazon,” one of TechCrunch’s sources said.
If Amazon struck out with all of the above startups, it wouldn’t be a knife to the heart of its burgeoning fashion department. The company has been on something of a tear recently with acquisitions, and it will take time to tell if customers can put aside brand loyalty to private labels for the convenience offered by Amazon. However, one of the anonymous sources noted that Amazon is particularly interested in startups like Rent The Runway and Preeline for the different experiences they offer compared to normal Amazon apparel shopping.
“They are trying to break the mold and the one-off relationship,” a source told TechCrunch. “With fashion it needs to be more of a brand play and longer-lasting relationships, not just ‘come to my site to buy a pair of boxers or a regular white T-shirt.’”