Much has been made of Amazon’s private apparel endeavors, which UBS Group estimating that the Seattle-based e-commerce platform, alone, could generate nearly $40 billion portion of “the fast-growing North America online fashion market” by 2022 thanks to an apparel-specific endeavor. Walmart – which currently holds the title of America's largest retailer, followed, of course, by Amazon in the number 2 spot – is also looking to improve its apparel departments in order to “[make] itself a destination for apparel.”
Such improvements are coming by way of acquisitions; Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has brought e-commerce sites, including Jet.com, Shoebuy.com, Moosejaw (an upscale online outdoor-wear site), ModCloth (a womenswear site known for its vintage-inspired wares), and Bonobos (the New York-based menswear brand), under its umbrella in recent years in order to boost its apparel offerings. This spring, Walmart announced an impending partnership with Lord & Taylor to sell the upscale department store’s products on its website.
It is also building out labels of its own. In February, for instance, Walmart unveiled four in-house brands: Time and Tru for women, Terra & Sky for plus-size women’s apparel, Wonder Nation for kids, and a major overhaul of its George apparel brand, which is imported from its British Asda chain. Fortune’s Phil Wahba called the introduction of more private label collections a move by Walmart to bank on "an opening in the market [in light of] the difficulties of many specialty apparel chains like J.Crew and the Gap, and a larger consumer slight shift away from clothing by department stores."
Now, Walmart is said to be seeking to expand further with a label meant to compete not only with Amazon but with budding direct-to-consumer brand Everlane, per BoF. The New York-based startup – which has garnered funding from the likes of Light Street Capital, 14W, and Natalie Massenet’s Imaginary Ventures, and found fans in Angelina Jolie, supermodel Karlie Kloss, and now-Duchess Meghan Markle – is known for its “modern essentials” at reasonable prices; jeans will set you back $68, dresses up to $110.
It is here that Walmart is setting its sights – an essentials brand, but “aimed at Gen Z shoppers and with lower prices.” This will fit neatly into Walmart’s mission to overhaul its offerings from those of a discount chain to something more streamlined and stylish. Much like Amazon, which stands to benefit from the profitability of in-house collections, Walmart is working hard to create legitimacy as a destination for fashion in order to lure consumers. And even more accessible version of Everlane sounds like a great start.