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East Dane intends to become a one-stop online shop for the booming men’s contemporary market.
This story first appeared in the September 3, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The site, which launches today, is from Shopbop, which is known for its teeming array of more than 500 women’s brands.
East Dane is coming out of the gate with 135 brands, with another 65 to be added by yearend. Among its key vendors are Rag & Bone, Billy Reid, Theory, Vince, A.P.C., J Brand, Aspesi, Levi’s Made & Crafted, Shipley & Halmos, Public School, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Arc’Teryx Veilance, Billykirk, Filson and Jack Spade.
Apart from apparel, the site will offer footwear such as Eastland, Sperry and Diemme; accessories from Mismo, Miansai and Giles & Brother; furnishings from Etiquette Clothiers, Happy Socks and Pantherella; bags from Ernest Alexander, Apolis and Want Les Essentiels de la Vie; sunglasses from Illesteva, Oliver Peoples and Persol, and tech accessories from Marshall and Incase.
The site is hedging on the tailored clothing category and will not offer nested suits, but will sell suit separates and blazers.
“We’re starting in the contemporary and advanced contemporary arena, as we did with women’s, and will expand the range over time,” said Darcy Penick, chief merchandising officer of East Dane and Shopbop. “We expect this to be Shopbop’s other half and look to target psychographics over demographics to service a fashion-interested customer with a youthful sensibility.”
East Dane is targeting both a fashion-informed customer and a basics customer, added Penick. “For both sites, we want to ensure we service across lifestyle needs and price points,” she noted.
The all-encompassing strategy isn’t surprising given that East Dane and Shopbop are owned by Amazon.com Inc. Leveraging that connection, anyone with an Amazon account can log in to East Dane using his or her pre-stored customer information. Beginning in mid-September, Amazon Prime members can use their benefits, such as free two-day shipping, on East Dane and Shopbop.
Amazon’s other fashion businesses include Amazon Fashion, MyHabit and Zappos. “We recognize that different customers prefer different experiences, and each site looks to serve these in unique ways,” said Penick of the creation of East Dane.
Apparel and accessories is the fastest-growing category in e-commerce, with a 17.2 percent compound annual growth rate forecast between 2012 and 2017, according to eMarketer. Online apparel and accessories sales are expected to reach $54.2 billion this year, up from $45.6 billion last year. Still, success in the arena is hardly a given: Amazon shuttered its Endless.com shoe and handbag site last fall, and Gilt closed its men’s Park & Bond site early this year.
“East Dane’s formula sounded interesting in tailoring outfit recommendations and taking a more stylistic approach to the site, rather than just putting pictures up,” said David Arbuthnot, chief executive officer of Gant USA, which is selling its Gant Rugger and Gant by Michael Bastian labels to the site. Online sales represent Gant’s fastest-growing business in the U.S., including at accounts like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.
Editorial components on East Dane include fashion layouts, look books, how-to guides and videos. Unlike competitor Mr Porter, which takes an almost literary approach to its editorial features, East Dane will focus on photography and visuals.
Amazon does not break out sales figures for its various channels, and Penick declined to offer targets for East Dane.