Amazon launches in-house clothing line with seven new fashion brands

amazonfashionAmazon now has its own clothing line.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (GeekWire File Photo)
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (GeekWire File Photo)

The Seattle tech giant quietly rolled out more than 1,800 fashion products made by the company under seven trademarked brand names, reported Quartz.

WWD noted that Amazon is selling a variety of clothing for men, women, and children. The seven Amazon fashion labels are: Franklin & Freeman, Franklin Tailored, James & Erin, North Eleven, Society New York, Lark & Ro, and Scout + Ro.

This is the first time Amazon is selling fashion products made by the company itself. Amazon has dipped its toes in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, but it hasn’t always led to success. In 2012, Amazon shut down Endless.com, a five-year-old high-end online fashion site that sold handbags, shoes, jewelry and other accessories, although it still operates other standalone sites today, such as MyHabit.com.

Amazon also sponsored the New York Men’s Fashion Week last year. In addition, the company is hiring for its fashion team. Business Insider spotted a “fashion technology” job posting with this description:

“When you think of buying new clothing, shoes, watches and jewelry, do you think of Amazon? Not yet? Well, we are going to change that.”

GEEKWIRE BASH: PING-PONG, FOOSBALL AND MORE AT OUR BIGGEST PARTY EVER

GeekWire Bash

Join us March 24 for the GeekWire Bash at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle — a giant, geeky extravaganza featuring three ping-pong tournaments, two foosball competitions, video games, geeky activities, great food and drink, and much more. Bring your whole company to join in the fun and cheer on your top competitors at this Seattle tech tradition. Ping pong and foosball tournaments will sell out quickly, so click here for tickets.
[“source-geekwire”]

Amazon launches its own clothing brands

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Over the years, Amazon has challenged the traditional brick-and-mortar model, redefined the books landscape, and gone all-in with original programming. Now, the retail giant is foraying headfirst into fashion.

Amazon has released 1,800 products, ranging from women’s clothing and bags to children’s clothing to men’s tailored apparel, spanning over seven private labels. Amazon owns the labels Society New York, Lark and Ro, Scout and Ro, Franklin and Freeman, Franklin Tailored, James and Erin, and North Eleven, WWD reports.

AMAZON WILL FILL IN THE “GAPS” LEFT BY OTHER FASHION BRANDS

Although Amazon did not confirm the launch of these in-house brands, Amazon Fashion’s VP of clothing, Jeff Yurcisin, had alluded to this move at the WWD CEO summit in New York last October. “When we see gaps — when certain brands have actually decided for their own reasons not to sell with us — our customer still wants a product like that,” he said.

Amazon sees its fashion arm playing a similar role to Amazon Basics, where it sells home-brand electronics. Through these new labels, the company will supply products that third-party sellers are not providing to Amazon’s 300 million customers.

Starting with the acquisition of online clothing retailer Shopbop in 2006, Amazon has been taking smaller fashion ventures under its wing. It went on to scoop up My Habit and East Dance too. In an attempt to further its presence in the world of fashion, Amazon also sponsored the New York Men’s Fashion Week for the first time last year.

AMAZON IS EN ROUTE TO BECOME THE TOP CLOTHING SELLER IN THE US

The $250 billion clothing and accessories industry in the US is a hotbed for the e-commerce company. By next year, Amazon isexpected to surpass Macy’s and become the top clothing seller in the US, according to Cowen and Company. The online shopping behemoth will most likely enjoy higher margins and profits with private labeling than it does being a front for big brands like Calvin Klein and Levi’s now.

Now, the retailer is pushing the envelope by ramping up the hiring for its private label team. The company is allegedly in talks to hire Frances Russell, former Marks and Spencer womenswear boss. The intention to hire managers with “strong product sensibility in both basic and fast-fashion segments, and [the] ability to identify and capitalize on current trends” aligns perfectly with the launch of the private labels.

[“source-theverge”]

Centre launches ₹10,000-cr fund to boost electronics manufacturing

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

In a bid to kickstart manufacturing in the electronics sector, the Centre on Monday launched a ₹10,000-crore development fund specifically targeted at the semiconductor industry.

Called Electronic Development Fund (EDF), it will provide risk capital to companies developing new technologies in electronics, nano-electronics and information technology.

The Centre will contribute ₹2,200 crore, while the balance will be brought in by private entities.

Canbank Venture Capital Fund, a subsidiary of state-run lender Canara Bank, has been appointed the implementation agency for EDF.

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology will be the anchor investor.

To start with, the Centre announced the allotment of funds to four VC firms — Karnataka Semiconductor Venture Capital Fund, Exfinity Technology Fund, Forum Synergies EDF Digital India Fund, and Endiya Seed Capital Corporation Fund.

The Centre has provided ₹169 crore to the four companies, while the VC firms are investing close to ₹1,000 crore.

“At any given time, the government will not invest more than 20-25 per cent in the funds, allowing the funds to be managed independently by the fund managers who have expertise in identifying and managing start-up investments,” said Ravi Bansal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Communications and IT.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said this was one of his dream projects and the government will do everything to protect the intellectual property of the start-ups that use this fund.

“We would encourage investments in two key areas — cyber security, where I think India can become a hub for innovation, and chip design, where I see a huge scope for designing semiconductor chips in India,” Prasad said.

The fund will also be used to acquire foreign companies and technologies that are required for building hi-tech capabilities within India, he added.

The fund has a commitment period till March 31, 2017, but according to Bansal, it is unlikely that the entire ₹10,000 crore will be invested by then.

[“source-Thehindubusinessline”]

MWC 2016: Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, and Other Things You Can Expect

MWC 2016: Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, and Other Things You Can ExpectThe annual Mobile World Congress exhibition in Barcelona is both a launch pad and a proving ground for tech companies, many of which will launch their most important products of the year within hours of each other and compete for the world’s attention.

Over the course of the week, we’ll see a slew of smartphones, wearables, tablets, appliances, accessories, apps, and other announcements from companies both big and small. Some secrets have spilled, and some have been given away to build hype. Here’s a quick look at what we know, what we’re guessing, and what we’re hoping to see at MWC 2016.

Samsung
It’s all but officially confirmed that Samsung will be releasing its next flagship Galaxy S model right on schedule, and it now looks like there will definitely be a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, but not a Galaxy S7 Edge+ just yet. The phones will be made of metal just like their predecessors, but will apparently make up for past compromises by supporting microSD cards and being resistant to water and dust. Battery capacity has apparently received a healthy bump.

samsung_galaxy_s6_edge_plus_design_hand_left_official1.jpg

According to leaks, the phones will be sold with Qualcomm’s new flagship Snapdragon 820 SoC in some regions, and with Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 in others. We expect 4GB of RAM and at least 32GB of storage. There are even reports of a free VR headset being offered with each unit. Apart from those phones, the company is expected to use its launch event to show off new smartwatches, tablets, andperhaps some new VR products for 2016. Samsung’s big launch event is scheduled for Sunday and we will be there to give you live coverage.

LG
LG has kept its flagship phones out of the MWC spotlight, but is now shaking up its usual mid-year refresh schedule. The LG G5 has been confirmed for an early debut, and one of the features the company has confirmed so far is an always-on display that will show notifications without taking too much of a toll on battery life. There might also be a G5 Lite, if the latest rumours prove to be true.

lg_g5_mwc_2016_launch_invite.jpg

It looks like we’ll see the launch of a mid-range phone called K8, which will join the K7 and K10 which were launched at CES. We can also expect to see the newly announced X series, which looks like it will include multiple models, each with one of the flagship G-series’ features. The LG X Cam will feature twin cameras, while the X Screen will have a low-power secondary display for notifications.

We also hope to see new watches, given last year’s emphasis on the Watch Urbane series. Maybe LG will keep experimenting with new platforms and designs – its competitors have certainly done so over the past year. LG kicks of MWC-related launches with its event on Monday.

Sony
Sony could keep up its six-monthly refresh schedule with a fresh Xperia Z lineup, but if so, the company is doing a good job at keeping them under wraps. It’s more likely that we’ll see new mid-range phones and wearables, replacing older models and fleshing out Sony’s product lines.

Huawei
Huawei was one of the few companies to do anything around flagship smartphones at CES, so it isn’t entirely sure what it will pull out of its hat now. Following the Mate 8, we might see the debut of the more mainstream Huawei P9 and a few mass-market models including ones under its Honor label.

Xiaomi
Xiaomi has confirmed that it will preview the Mi 5, but launch details aren’t certain. It looks like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 will power Xiaomi’s latest high-end push, so it will be interesting to see what price point the Chinese behemoth will hit, and when it will launch the Mi 5 in India. We wouldn’t mind refreshes to the rest of the lineup as well. While the official Mi 5 launch event is in China, a media preview is scheduled in Barcelona on February 24, so be sure we will share everything we find out.

xiaomi_invite_mi_5_forum.jpg

Microsoft
With the Lumia 650 launched just this week, Microsoft might not have any new phones to show off. That said, there’s still bound to be a lot of curiosity around the Lumia 650 and its siblings, the Lumia 550, Lumia 950, and Lumia 950XL. Microsoft should also be showing off its nifty Continuum feature, and its ever-growing portfolio of apps for Android and iOS. Hopefully, there will be third-party Windows Phone devices. Beyond phones, the Surface 4 Pro and Surface Book will most likely make an appearance, plus of course a slew of Windows 10 devices in all shapes and sizes from partner companies.

Nokia
The former tech superpower managed to steal quite a bit of attention last year with its gorgeous N1 tablet, but we haven’t heard anything further post-show, and the launch we were hoping for never happened. There’s a little part of us that is really hoping Nokia will be even bolder and disclose plans to enter the Android market in a serious way.

1118201433407PM_635_nokia_n1.jpeg

Lenovo
Lenovo might try to establish the positioning of the Moto lineup relative to its own Vibe and other models, but we only have indications of one major new launch, which is promised to be a ‘gorgeous’ new phone with stereo speakers. Stay tuned for more teasers as the launch date draws nearer.

Beyond the hype
Of course one of the best parts about an industry trade show is discovering new companies and being surprised by the unexpected. We can look forward to loads of startups in the IoT and wearables spaces. Health and fitness will be a huge deal, as will automotive entertainment and safety. Companies that have not typically dabbled in tech will show up in droves, touting tie-ups or experiments of their own. On the infrastructure side, buzz around 5G and new Wi-Fi and LTE standards will certainly be strong. Mobile payments might not be relevant to India right now, but several players will be pushing for their standards to become dominant.

iofit_fitness_smart_shoes_samsung_website_video.jpg

Noteworthy absences
HTC has launched new flagships at the past few MWCs, but there hasn’t been much noise from the company of late. It isn’t certain whether we’ll see an HTC One M10, but mid-range phones should be on display. The company is more likely to emphasise its second-generation Vive VR headset, and might dip its toes into the wearables and IoT markets. Asus was expected to have its next generation ready as well, but it looks as though the company will be keeping things low-key.

htc_vive_pre_full_kit.jpg

Apple never participates at industry trade shows, but it seems very likely that it will host its own event in March to launch a new 4-inch iPhone, iPad Air, and updated Apple Watch. BlackBerry has confirmed that it will be skipping the show as well, so we won’t have any insight into its roadmap beyond the Privjust yet. Last year’s star Jolla, which launched its tablet last year, is unlikely to have anything to show off given its recent troubles.

What are you looking forward to the most from MWC 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

[“Source-Gadgets”]