Amazon Fashion: the hosts of daily style show Style Code Live, Frankie Grande, Rachel Smith, and Lyndsey Rodrigues
Amazon Fashion: the hosts of daily style show Style Code Live, Frankie Grande, Rachel Smith, and Lyndsey Rodrigues
A view from Paul Marsden

How Amazon is driving the Uberisation of fashion

Virtual eyebrows were raised after Amazon launched a new online TV shopping show called 'Style Code Live', writes Dr Paul Marsden, digital strategist at Syzygy and psychologist at London College of Fashion.

Streamed online every weekday evening live and dedicated to fashion and beauty, ‘Style Code Live’ is a curious mash-up between an old-school QVC-style shopping channel show and a haul video with a sprinkling of E! news celebrity gossip thrown in for good measure.

And of course, courtesy of a perpetual ‘Style Carousel’ at the bottom of the show screen, viewers can tap on any article featured by the show’s celebrity presenters and buy directly from Amazon.

On the face of it, ‘Style Code Live’ appears to be a good fit Amazon’s new consumer DNA of shopping and streaming. And it also complements the e-commerce giant’s new fashion fetish.

Last month alone Amazon not only launched its own suite of seven private-label fashion brands - Society New York, Lark and Ro, Scout and Ro, Franklin and Freeman, Franklin Tailored, James and Erin, and North Eleven - but it also began screening a fashion reality TV show, ‘The Fashion Fund’.

Amazon’s move into fashion fabulousness makes sense in the context of a fast-growing e-commerce category that is outperforming many others; one in every five pounds spent on fashion in the UK is now spent online.

So it makes sense that the Bezos beast is selling more fashion items than electronics today as it expands its fashion retail footprint through Amazon Fashion, Zappos, Shopbop, EastDane and MyHabit.

So what’s wrong with Amazon adding a reboot of a QVC-style home shopping show for digital natives into their fashion mix? Just ask the global and Google-able harem of celebrity haulers out there offering beauty and fashion tips on-demand.

Who wants to wait until 9pm EST every weekday to ‘discover’ new beauty and fashion tips, tricks and trends? Isn’t that why your preferred deity invented YouTube? So you don’t have to wait. Ever. ‘Style Code Live’ looks - and feels - anachronistic and obsolete, the result of an accidental mix-up between a time machine and Amazon Prime.

Making fashion automagic

But the venture could just turn out to be visionary if Amazon uses it to ‘Uberfy’ fashion. Uber, the poster-child for digital disruption through ‘convenience tech’ has transformed the cab business by making things quick and easy for both drivers and passengers.

Tap screen and find a passenger or a ride, automagically; Uber has made finding fares and cabs uber-convenient.

In an age where digital technology has set expectations for instant gratification and immediate satisfaction, Uber’s convenience-tech makes perfect sense. In today’s ‘now’ economy, a reboot of QVC - which stands for Quality, Value and Convenience makes sense too.

See fashion you like on a show? Then tap the show’s carousel and get it conveniently shipped to you right now.  And with Amazon Prime Now, that means delivery in the next hour.

Just as the blockchain turned out to be the diamond in the Bitcoin rough, the Amazon carousel could become the hero in next-generation fashion and television. And like Uber, which stepped up as a new intermediary between drivers and passengers, Amazon could step in with the carousel to mend the broken relationships between fashion brands and their customers and media companies and their audiences.

In the future, every fashion show, every television show and every ad could have its own shoppable carousel on the main screen or even a second screen, offering a new business model for the fashion and media industries.

So go ahead, diss 'Style Code Live' all you like, but don’t throw the cool carousel baby out with the bathwater. The Uberisation of fashion starts now.