Amazon has secretly been running luxury fashion platform VRSNL

Amazon's secret luxury retail website, VRSNL (Versional).

Online giant, Amazon has launched a new luxury fashion platform, VRSNL, with evidence suggesting the e-commerce has been operating in secret since September 2019.

The launch follows reports that Amazon was due to launch its own luxury fashion platform as part of Amazon Fashion early 2020. It is now clear that Zappos, the Amazon-owned footwear retailer, has been quietly operating VRSNL’s online storefront.

The luxury fashion platform, pronounced versional, has been run by the Amazon subsidiary without any promotional marketing or publicity. Although there has been no clear branding linking to Zappos on the new fashion website, during checkout customers are encouraged to enter their Zappos account information.

As of 14 February 2020, VRSL has a retail Instagram account with less than 100 followers, no branding and no posts, possibly indicating that the business is a sleeper trial of market demand and design aspects.

The VRSNL website officially launched in September 2019 alongside an app, which provides a range of apparel, footwear and accessories from high-end designers who traditionally have never been available on either Shopbop (Amazon’s multi-brand fashion website) or Amazon itself.

VRSNL is offering a wide range of luxury fashion designers including names such as Marni, Balmain, Rick Owens, Versace and Rag & Bone. The site has offered collections which feature popular high-end items such as the Bottega Veneta “Pouch” bag.

Although Amazon-owned Shopbop offers apparel from brands, such as Jason Wu and limited ranges of accessories from high-end designers such as Gucci, VRSNL taps directly into the multi-brand luxury fashion market and competes with leading luxury etailers such as MATCHESFASHION, NET-A-PORTER and Farfetch.

Amazon’s new platform will give brands complete control the aesthetics of their online space (it’s a model that appears similar to that of Alibaba’s Tmall Luxury Pavilion in China)and what products they decide to sell. Participating brands will also have access to Amazon’s logistics network, which will help with fast customer service and a variety of shipping methods.

Approximately 12 brands are said to be working with Amazon to develop their own space, though no names have been announced, with each due to be introduced individually on the platform.