Why Luxury Retail Platform Farfetch Is Obsessing Over Streetwear

Farfetch is doubling down on its push into streetwear.

As it seeks to set itself apart from rivals Yoox Net-a-Porter, Matchesfashion and Ssense, the online fashion platform appears to be embracing several disruptive business strategies that have been popularized in recent years by big-name streetwear players like Supreme.

One of these strategies is a new product drop methodology inspired by its acquisition of sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods over a year ago. Since then, Farfetch has been working toward the fusion of streetwear and luxury at a time when consumers are increasingly demanding both comfort and style. It’s the culmination of months of seemingly strategic steps in a more streetwear-focused direction.

Today, the luxury marketplace announced the April debut of Farfetch Beat, a new product drop strategy that offers on a weekly basis limited-edition items, which will be available on the Farfetch app. The limited-supply retail tactic, which involves releasing high-demand products in small quantities at select dates and locations, has been employed by other labels including sportswear giant Adidas, notably through its collaboration with Kanye West’s Yeezy brand, as well as fashion houses Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

The announcement comes six months after Farfetch entered into a $675 million deal in August 2019 to purchase New Guards Group, which holds exclusive licenses for such buzzy labels as Off-White, Palm Angels and Heron Preston. During its third-quarter call on the same day last August, Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves said that the streetwear-centered company’s roster of brands “sold more on Farfetch in Q3 than any other single brand.” He also called out the performance of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, which Neves said became the site’s No. 1 most-searched luxury brand, ahead of more established heritage brands on the website. These include revered labels such as Burberry, Gucci, Prada and Saint Laurent.

The company snapped up Stadium Goods for $250 million back in December 2018, marking its entry into the swiftly growing luxury streetwear resale scene. Because exclusive product drops tend to create the impression of item scarcity, it’s not unusual for streetwear aficionados to resell highly sought-after products to make a profit. Further staking its claim in resale, Farfetch in May introduced Second Life, a service that allows customers to sell their pre-owned luxury items in exchange for Farfetch credit, giving shoppers an incentive to return to the website to make a purchase.

Farfetch is expected to report its 2019 annual results next week.

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