THE BIG TIME: Amazon is supersizing itself in London, where it is cutting the ribbon this week on its largest fashion photography studio worldwide in a former train repair warehouse and glass works in the city’s hip Hoxton neighborhood.
Amazon said it invested “multimillions” in the newly refurbished space, which is 150 years old and boasts original features such as rough brick walls and elegant archways.
The 46,000-square-foot space, which is a few steps away from the new Hoxton train station, spans two levels, has 22 photographic bays, a dedicated area for editorial shoots and videos, and an outdoor terrace.
There are also makeup areas and conference rooms, all of which have black walls and floors conducive to image-making.
On Thursday, Amazon will unveil Suki Waterhouse as its first brand ambassador for European fashion for the autumn-winter season. Waterhouse will be among guests at a party to inaugurate the new space, which is set to produce more than half-a-million images per year.
“We’re putting our stake in the ground, and the new space shows our ambition to create beautiful content for the fashion world,” said Sergio Bucher, vice president of Amazon Fashion EU, in an interview. He said Amazon’s ambitions in the fashion arena were to “build great scale and quality” as well as offer top-flight service and competitive pricing. “Our aim is to make Amazon the best place to buy fashion online.”
He added the company was proud of the breadth of its fashion offer, with sales ranging from a T-shirt priced at 5 pounds, or $7.80, to a Gucci watch for 3,000 pounds, or $4,680.
Amazon’s fashion offer, he said, is guided by the customer and what he or she is looking for. “We are stretching our offer to suit our customers’ needs, establishing relationships with brands, and ensuring that the way they appear on Amazon is consistent with their own stores and brand message.”
Although Europe — and London in particular — is crawling with competition large and small, Bucher said Amazon welcomes the challenge. He pointed to the fact that just 10.8 percent of fashion retail sales happen online, so there is clearly room for growth.
Fashion is one of the fastest-growing categories at Amazon, and sales of fashion products across Amazon’s European business exceeded 30 million items during the second quarter ended June 30.
Amazon is still refining its delivery speed times in the U.K., with certain neighborhoods in London benefiting from a two-hour delivery service for a select range of products, while the rest of the country receives merchandise within 24 hours.
Bucher said Amazon is also keen on forging close links with the fashion industry, and recently hosted the summer party for the British Fashion Council, of which it is a patron.
On Saturday, Amazon and Dazed & Confused will welcome 350 young creatives to the site for workshops and talks with speakers including Nicola Formichetti, Kim Jones and Rankin.
The new London space is larger than Amazon’s photography space in Brooklyn, The Glass Works. The online retailer also has smaller studios in Asia and Latin America.