The much-anticipated return of Style.com is experiencing delays and partnership snags as the site tries to pivot from editorial into e-commerce.
The Vogue-owned site shut down in 2015 and was expected to return as an e-commerce platform. The U.K. edition quietly rolled out earlier this month, but a launch date for the U.S. site is still unknown. Meanwhile, the U.K. edition’s product offerings is noticeably lacking in luxury brands, a blight for a brand owned by a leading high-end style publication.
Originally seen as the online home of Vogue’s runway coverage when it started in 2000, Style.com’s purpose became unclear when parent company Condé Nast launched a standalone site for Vogue in 2010. Over time, the content on Style.com and Vogue.com became duplicative, leading to Style.com’s closure in 2015. Since then, Vogue and Condé Nast have allocated nearly $85 million to revive it as a shopping site, following on the heels of ShopBazaar, the commerce platform of rival Harper’s Bazaar.
The U.S. site is set to launch after a broader European release in October, according to Giulia Galli, head of communications and public relations for Style.com. She couldn’t give a specific date, but said the delay is due to product development and improving functionality in Europe first so that the site is perfected for the U.S.
Galli said 300 brands have signed up to have their products available for sale on the site, but she wouldn’t name any of them, and a number of luxury brands have been noticeably absent from the roster, as The Drum noted earlier this week. Among them are Prada, Givenchy, Versace and Jil Sander, which did not return request for comment. Instead, the new Style.com — which will receive a commission on sales, according to Business of Fashion — appears to be focused on small, up-and-coming brands.
Galli said that “many conversations” are happening with brands and some of the 300 companies joining the e-commerce venture aren’t featured on the site yet. “We’re adding new brands everyday and are offering a balanced combination of established fashion brands and new, upcoming designers,” added Style.com president Franck Zayan.
Sonny Kim, evp of digital at PGR Media, said that despite the dearth of luxury brands on Style.com, the Vogue and Condé Nast names still carry significant weight.
“I think Vogue definitely brings a lot of cachet to Style.com,” Kim said. “I think they need to make sure that they’re showing traction and showing that it’s an easier e-commerce experience and shopping experience that they can scale.”