MEXICO CITY — Mercado Libre is moving to support Mexican designers as it takes on archrival Amazon Fashion by adding more young brands to its fold.
Mercadolibre.com.mx recently launched the nation’s first digital fashion awards and has been promoting its Tu Estas de Moda [“You are in Fashion”] channel, stocking more than 20 local and international clothing, accessories, jewelry and beauty labels.
“We have been supporting fashion for over a year. The idea is to foster good Mexican production while helping designers monetize their talent and boost fashion sales in Mercadolibre.co.mx,” fashion director Francisco Alatorre told WWD.
The site, which remains the largest e-commerce platform in Mexico with 17 million visitors, will launch a section for Compra Moda Nacional, a platform marketing new talent in Mexico, by June, Alatorre revealed.
The move follows the recent rollout of Galo Bertini, an up-and-coming men’s suit brand, and the site has started selling buzzy jewelry brands Arte Joyas and Goretti.
Mercado Libre, which recently deployed a major outdoor ad campaign for “You Are in Fashion,” also hosts in-store events, special “boutiques” and pop-ups.
Alatorre declined to provide sales forecasts, but said the e-commerce firm will support designers by sponsoring runway shows and other special events. He ducked questions about how the site competes with Amazon and other rivals like Claro Shop.
“What they are doing is pretty good,” said Francisco Saldana, one of the designers behind Malafacha, an alternative fashion brand. “Mexico needs this because there are many distribution channels for mass apparel and foreign luxury, but hardly any for small or independent designers.”
“E-commerce is strengthening in Mexico [with fashion reportedly leading penetration at 28 percent] and Mercadolibre.com.mx is the leader, so for them to do this is wonderful,” added Saldana, who hopes to start selling on the e-tailer after Mexico Fashion Week.
Saldana added his voice to the chorus of designers and activists who have slammed Amazon Fashion’s stocking of Donald and Ivanka Trump clothing in Mexico, which triggered a boycott campaign against the online giant in March.
“I think it’s myopic, especially as they just launched Amazon Fashion,” Saldana continued. “Mexico is a huge market and selling these brands shows a lack of sensibility and vision.”
The e-tailer also came under fire this month for stocking Costume Agent’s unisex shirt bearing a “Mexico Will Pay’” slogan.
Amazon Mexico public relations director Julio Gil said the Trump brands are still carried, declining to comment on the boycott’s impact. “Amazon is a place where consumers can find all types of products,” he said. “Our interest is in that premise. Unless something directly offends a particular group of people, we don’t limit the stock.”
Gil, however, said the “Mexico Will Pay” merchandise is not on sale on Amazon Fashion Mexico, which launched last summer.
He declined to comment on reports Amazon is supporting 10 designer-shoe brands in Guanajuato, Mexico state. However, Carlos Martin del Campo, who leads the state’s exports lobby Cofoce, said the firm in March hosted a workshop to help the labels enter its marketplace in coming weeks.
“We provided the infrastructure and they did the training,” said Martin, adding that Cofoce is working to diversify commercial opportunities for the state’s footwear labels as Mexico faces the specter of declining U.S. sales under President Trump’s trade agenda.
“We are not the only ones,” added Martin del Campo. “Amazon is also doing this in other Mexican states.”