Bloomberg Businessweek

How Private Labels Caught the Public Eye

Once-dowdy store brands are besting many fashion nameplates

A few months ago, Amazon.com Inc. representatives met with fashion designer Jackie Wilson as part of the expansion of Amazon’s burgeoning apparel business. They wanted her to make a knit top for women that would be sold under an Amazon-owned private label. And they wanted the fabric to feel heavy and high-quality—attributes long associated in the shopping mind with name-brand attire.

“They are not concerned at all about how many units they sell, and they’re not focused on margins,” says Wilson, whose company in Syracuse, N.Y., makes clothing for Kohl’s, American Eagle Outfitters, and J.C. Penney. “They’re concerned about

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