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Opinion Editorials

Amazon acquires Body Lab, are fashion retailers sweating it?

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Trying on clothes seemed to be what was saving the fashion industry from total Amazon domination, but it seems like the gap is closing between the two.

body amazon

We’ve all seen Amazon sweeping through industry after industry, acquiring companies, expanding Amazon Prime options, and planning some sort of world domination — probably.

They have made moves in the grocery world, buying Whole Foods and adding grocery services to Amazon Prime, promising lower prices than the competition. They finally forced the hand of one of the biggest sportswear companies in the world, the indomitable Nike, who agreed to begin selling directly on Amazon earlier this year.

With a simple search at Amazon.com, we’ve always been able to find trinkets, books, and seemingly random items to help stretch and massage your back muscles or strain your pasta more efficiently, but finding cool clothes from brands you could actually trust wasn’t a place you went to Amazon for.

The creative, fashionable retail space seemed to be the thing Amazon could never touch. That tide may be turning.

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According to Tech Crunch, Amazon has just purchased Body Labs, a New York based startup that makes 3D body scans. This software, initially created for gaming purposes, could be used to scan the body, recommend tailoring, and allow shoppers to try clothes on virtually.

This is not good for companies that are selling quality clothing on Amazon. The online giant already owns several of it’s own apparel lines, clothing subscription services, and has built software that recommends outfits (how my mom would have LOVED that for me growing up).

While this all sounds nice and simple for those who are not involved in the fashion industry, or really any other creative niche, this may be terrible for those trying to produce their own original designs and content.

Driving to a mall to try on a pair of jeans or shirt may be a thing of the past once Amazon kicks this software into gear. While many do their clothes shopping online already, being able to just go to Amazon for the ability to “try on” clothes and determine exactly what color matches your eyes based on an algorithm is just more one reason to make Amazon your one stop shop for everything.

Imagine a shopping cart with a fidget spinner, a toothbrush, AND a new pair of custom fit jeans. This could mean even more retailers shutting their doors and further increase Amazon’s hold on the retail marketplace.

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Many brands are already making a push towards craftsmanship and transparent production practices, marketing themselves as the sensible, quality choice when purchasing new clothes.
This may be one of the few ways to prevent being overtaken by Amazon’s new technology. As a company, regardless of what you sell, protecting yourself from the dominion of Amazon is becoming darn near impossible.

Written By

Will hails from Northern California, earned a B.A. in English from Texas A&M University, and now calls Austin, Texas home where he works at a tech startup. He likes riding his bike an ungodly amount of miles and his favorite aesthetic is an open road. If you see him around he'll likely be reading a classic American novel and drinking a Topo Chico.

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