A puffa jacket selling for $129.99 on Amazon would not normally attract attention, but the mania it has created reveals the consumer appetite to consider Amazon a destination for buying hot luxury fashion.
The ‘Orolay Thickened Women’s Down Jacket’ has been the viral consumer hit of the winter. It is Amazon’s number one bestseller in women’s down jackets and parkas. Equipped with many zips and pockets, and in a cocoon silhouette, it is reported to have similar design elements of luxury brands Moncler or Canada Goose and has become an internet sensation. It has its own hashtag and even its own Instagram account -@theamazoncoat - assuring its place in many news feeds.
Getting the coat recommended, liked and talked about in news feeds has caused a domino effect as women discover it, buy it and repost their purchase refueling further interest to new followers. Consequently, the amazoncoat has become a meme - not bad for a brand that never existed a year ago.
Oralay's success has kept many luxury fashion executives awake at night because it demonstrates Amazon’s ability to spot a trend, make a high-quality item in China, distribute it exclusively on Amazon and market it so effectively that it becomes a number one bestseller.
#TheAmazonCoat started to be noticed by the fashion glitterati a year ago. New York magazine noted its appearance on the backs of women in New York’s Upper East Side, the well-heeled Manhattan enclave that is a core market for sellers of luxury goods. The fashion-conscious elite has likened the coat to a Moncler or an early edition of North Face. Of course, the Amazon coat is nothing like it, most clearly on price - a Moncler winter coat retails for upwards of £2,000 and a North Face for aprrox £250.
A year on and the coat, which is made by a Chinese company that also makes folding chairs, storage cabinets and bar stools, has been photographed on hundreds of consumers — from fashion influencers pairing it with Chanel handbags to children wearing it playing in the snow. It has more than 6,000 comments on Amazon.
More than half the reviewers give it five stars, but not all of them are positive. There are complaints about resilience to bad weather and the quality of the stitching. But its price, lightly fashionable look and warmth are hits. So too is its inclusive sizing, a hot topic in the fashion industry, as it comes in sizes from XXS to XXL.
The Amazon coat also highlights the fashion opportunity for Made in China. Chinese manufacturers are well equipped to react to trends and online demand. The amazon coat has rapidly been made available in different colours and sizes, based on customer feedback and consequently, Amazon has been able to maintain momentum and attract new customers.
The luxury fashion industry also fears that the Amazon Coat reflects a trend with traditional luxury consumers to spend less and consume less. Businesses like Renttherunway have made it affordable for people to wear catwalk dresses and then brag about it on Instagram.
Whatever the future holds for luxury fashion, Amazon has a role to a play in a new model. And the Amazon coat is just the start.