Ebay has been a destination for designer fashion for a long time -- however, most people think of it as a place to buy clothes and shoes that are used and/or significantly discounted. But increasingly, full-price designer merchandise is being sold alongside the auctions and fixed-priced listings we're used to, directly from the designers themselves.
On Tuesday, the e-commerce giant launched Designer Collective, where 16 American designers including Calvin Klein, Nicole Miller and Rebecca Minkoff own and run their own shops featuring full-price, current-season merchandise. Ebay does not own any inventory.
Ebay has been trying to get into the fashion game for a few years now. In 2010, it launched a fashion content site and it's also done several designer exclusives and collaborations with the likes of Derek Lam, Narciso Rodriguez and Alexander Wang. It also did a holiday collective with various designers in 2012 and late last year, it partnered with the CFDA and a few of its designers on a range of wearable tech.
But are these shops actually beneficial to designers? In theory, yes. Being on Ebay allows brands to present and sell their goods on a larger platform, to more people (145 million active users worldwide according Ebay's Q1 2014 report) than they might reach on their own. And soon, goods from the Designer Collective will be able to ship internationally -- perhaps to countries those designers don't currently ship to on their own e-commerce sites. Designers based outside of the U.S. will also be launching shops later this year, and Ebay plans to eventually incorporate original editorial content.
The question is, will people who could otherwise buy designer goods from Net-a-Porter or directly from the brands' sites start buying them from Ebay? If they're avid Ebay users, maybe -- like we said, people are constantly searching for designer goods on that site. Otherwise, we'll have to wait and see.