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I'm over Amazon's The Drop. Like dude. Dude. I keep trying, I keep getting my hopes up and have them dashed into a white plastic return envelope.
For those unfamiliar, The Drop is a program Amazon has where popular influencers get to design a capsule of pieces that are then sold on the Amazon site for a limited time. Sometimes Amazon picks influencers who are known for having great style, sometimes it's because the influencer is popular and Amazon knows they could sell out even if all they offered was a garbage bag.
I am not just an influencer, I am influenced. I've been in this business for 17 years and over this time I have made friends, questioned ethics, and really have come to respect many of my peers. I can see how talented they are and how hard they work and I want to support them and I trust them.
Why I'm Over Amazon's The Drop
One influencer is Grace Atwood. I don't recall how I found her, but it was back before she changed her blog name to The Stripe. I've seen her business grow in really organic ways; I respect how she has done it and I like her style. And I have bought a hell of a lot of things she has recommended and rarely have I been disappointed.
So Grace gets the opportunity to create a The Drop collection and I'm all in. I listen to the process on her podcast, see behind the scenes on her Instagram Stories, and when it drops… wow it is underwhelming. But I order a piece to find it is a cheaply crafted rayon box with puckered seams.
I knew from the behind the scenes that she was limited in many ways to keep it a certain price, etc. but this is so incredibly underwhelming. And because I want to support this influencer, I feel practically guilty as I pack up the dress and return it.
I must have been in the minority because Grace was invited to create a second Drop. This time I wasn't swayed by a single item. However, that didn't stop me from ordering from other influencer collabs with Amazon The Drop.
I ordered a caftan from the Amazon The Drop collection with Kellie Brown, known as @itsmekellib, excited by the color and size inclusivity. I love Kellie's no f*cks given attitude and edgy style, and she put all that in the photos for her collab. She wore a blonde wig, in what looked like the romper room of the Brady Bunch home, wearing this fantastic emerald green silky caftan. Returned it because it looked and felt like a choir robe.
When Katie Sturino had an Amazon The Drop collection, considering how much she is about size inclusivity and poking fun at brands that have ridiculous sizing, I had high hopes. But my sister and I texted each other about it noticing details in the photos that let us know without ordering that the quality, fit, and details would be just as poor as previous collections I tried.
We were right; while influencer friends raved about Sturino's collab, my “normal” friends who also ordered pieces shared that what they received were made from cheap fabric, poorly sewn together, and while a few fun colors and prints, nothing was worth the price they paid.
But did that stop me from checking out future Amazon The Drop collabs with influencers? Nope, especially when Carla Rockmore was tapped to do a collaboration.
If you're on Instagram or TikTok you've likely seen Carla Rockmore, the animated woman with curly hair and fab glasses who puts together outfits in her two-story closet in Texas (if you thought she was in NYC you're not alone). She gained fame quickly, often being compared to Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City.
Carla Rockmore's knowledge of trends and her archive of clothing is impressive, and I thought okay, this isn't someone who is popular because she's cute or relatable, but because she knows clothes and understands style. This has to be a good Amazon The Drop, right?
As an influencer I was sent details about the collection ahead of time, knew the pieces that were coming out, and the timing of the launch. Even so, when I went to check it out on launch day some pieces were already sold out. However, the piece I wanted, these red pants with the foldover detail, were still in stock.
I received them. They are essentially a pair of stretchy scrubs with wings. Okay, that's unfair, there is a cheap zipper fly and a little tab closure. The red color is lovely, but looking back at them on Carla Rockmore I feel they had some professional tailoring for the shoot.
I was lured into Amazon The Drop because I knew these influencers were being paid to do the collaboration, PLUS they get paid affiliate commission if you use their links to buy the pieces. I am not sure if there is any commission per piece purchased from the collection whether or not their affiliate link was used but even without that, these influencers can be making a pretty penny and I fully support that.
Even so, Amazon is making a crap ton off this project. They are taking the parasocial relationships we create with influencers and using them to hawk really poor quality clothing. If I, an actual influencer who knows “how the sausage is made” felt guilty returning these pieces, imagine how many people across the United States have crappy rayon dresses and scratchy cotton pants hanging in their closets that they regret purchasing?
Or do they regret it? If they care about that influencer, they likely forgive them for subpar style. They will justify the purchase, find a way to make it work, and keep it for a season until they throw it into a ThreadUp bag and shop the next Amazon Drop collection.
I love the concept of Amazon The Drop. I love to see influencers I've met, I'm friends with, or just follow on social get a whole page of them looking super cute in clothes they helped design. I love that they're making good money from the project, and expanding their reach and audience. But dang, the clothes SUCK!
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I understand the limitations. Price, mass production, yadda yadda. But we've all found that there are some items that can be done cheaply and still look good. Some cheaper fabrics that just work better than others. And I don't know if it's the Amazon The Drop pieces I chose to order because they fit my personal style aesthetic and came from influencers I wish to support, but the fabrics I've experienced are some of the most craptastic I've ever encountered.
I can't help but think of Old Navy, who is on my sh*tlist right now for blaming customers for their lack of success launching their newest sizing method, but does cheap fashion well. Over the years I have purchased many a sundress, pair of pants or jeans, or a top from Old Navy and had it good enough to pretty darn great. They too use cheaper fabrics, super simple designs, and create in large quantities. Is the difference the influencers or Amazon?
If I had such a collaboration, it would all be out of matte jersey, a fabric that can be heavy and luxe or can be a thin polyester and either way, it has good drape and can look nice and can also go in the washing machine. It would be a capsule of pieces that would mix and match, be size inclusive, and travel friendly. You can bet I've already envisioned the pieces, the colors and prints.
And likely these influencers have similar ideas in their heads that are dashed down by Amazon The Drop for whatever reason. And they end up with scratchy cotton and transparent rayon and missing darts and uneven hems because Amazon says you get what you get and you don't get upset. You're going to act so excited and proud and you're going to hire a photographer to get photos of you dancing down a street or on a beach or in front of an historic building with a big-ass smile on your face as your underwear is showing and you can only fit to the first knuckle of your fingers into the pocket.
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The thing is, Amazon does cheap fashion well when they want to. Amazon offers items in The Drop that are not designed by influencers but add to the collection. I have this bag, I've had it for a year and it looks like leather, has held up beautifully, packs well, and holds a lot. My friend has this bag and it's super cute in person. I bought the dress above from Amazon and while it's not nearly as nice or well shaped as the similar orange dress I got from the Christopher John Rogers x Target collab, it's a decent summer dress for a low price.
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The Amazon Aware collection is good quality; I've tried this dress, this sweater, and this t-shirt and while the dress isn't my style all the pieces are quite nice. I wear the sweater and t-shirts often and they have laundered beautifully.
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But I've been burned too many times, and I am over Amazon The Drop. I just can't anymore. But Amazon, if you're willing to use matte jersey, give me a call, I have some ideas!
Have you made a purchase from an Amazon The Drop influencer collaboration? I'd love to read about your experience, good or bad. I also would love to know in general your size, age, and where you wear the item because I think that is also a major factor as to the success of a collection. I wonder if my age and shape have made me more critical and if I was younger and had an easier-to-fit shape, if I'd have a more positive feeling about the Amazon The Drop influencer collaborations!
100% agree. I got sucked into Carla Rockmore’s second The Drop collection. I bought the olive skirt and the neon yellow button down. Both were absolutely terrible – and the crazy thing is they weren’t significantly cheaper than, say, Nordstrom’s house brand. And definitely not significantly cheaper than purchasing a lot of lightly worm items on The Real Real. The shirt color is a bit off from what it looked like on the website, but the real issue is the fabric, which feels like tissue paper. The fit on both items is also off – the sleeves on the top are weirdly puffy and the waist on the skirt puckers up in the front. First and last time I’ll ever buy clothing from Amazon. Live and learn, I guess.
Still love Carla Rockmore though.
I avoid Amazon if at all possible because I think Jeff Bezos is insufferable at best.
Love Carla. Hate The Drop.
Lia Mac says
Two words about AL of this: the planet. Which is drowning in discarded cheap clothing. Seriously. Stop this drop/haul/fast fashion madness.
Well said!! Thankfully things were sold out the first time I went to buy something. I later found the dress in a thrift store and was pretty horrified at how cheaply it was made. Honestly, it’s lessened my trust in those influencers – I realize they’re likely constrained in what they can do as you say, but it cheapens their brand.
Michele M says
I am a 60 year old plus size woman. I stay at home and like comfy clothes. I haven’t found any clothes from Amazon that work fit me especially from The Drop Collections. The fit might be off or the material is not good quality. I’ve become more selective in recent years. I no longer settle just because it’s inexpensive. I also noticed that The Drop items were not free returns always so that changed my mind right there.
I really appreciate your honest reviews and recommendations. Your recent articles have showed me how much more careful I need to be before signing up to Facebook, instagram or making spontaneous purchases, etc. I’m now back to just reading the 10 or so blogs I trust. Yours is in the top five sites I visit most frequently since you are one of a very few not trying to sell me something everyday but to make your “followers” much more knowledgeable.
Jen Buchanan says
You got me with the Hoka Recovery Slides. I run in Hokas and stand all day for work. I was desperate for a new pair of marshmallow shoes. These are amazing!! As a bonus, my 17 year old daughter also agrees and is shocked, I mean totally shocked, that her mother is fashion forward. #doublewin
The thing I’m really over, which I see done in these shots from The Drop, is positioning models or accessories so that you can’t tell what an item looks like by itself in a straight-on pose. I started paying more attention to this when I got a dress where the pockets popped out horribly, and I went back and saw that the model had her hands in the pockets in every single picture–I bet they popped out otherwise on her, too! Note how the blazer over the winged pants hides the weird projection. The belly bag hides the waistline. The pose of the model hides the choirgirl effect. Sure, different ideas are nice, but show the item straight up, front and center, unembellished. I don’t always have the best luck with Universal Standard, but I think they do a pretty good job of showing clothes as they really fit.
The other day, Peyton of The Peyton Project on TikTok was complaining about how hard it’s been to find a dress for a styling client because of the way they pose the models. I believe she’s a former plus-size model (she’s smaller now) and knows the tricks they use and was still annoyed.
This mirrors my experience. I was excited when Caralyn Mirand announced her first collection with The Drop, as we have similar style and are very close in size and shape. I was, in turn, so disappointed when the blouse I received ended up being cheap, see-through rayon, that shrunk significantly after one wash, despite washing carefully and hanging to dry. $40 CAD for one wear. Now, whenever I see a new collection on The Drop that tempts me, I remind myself how poor the quality was on that blouse and I close the window.
Never heard of Amazon Drop before this post. I can’t think of a single piece of clothing or shoes, purchased on Amazon, that I haven’t returned due to poor quality and fit. Walmart makes better quality.
As a plus size woman (and not even THAT plus, solid size 18 here) I don’t even waste my time with the drop because when I have perused it, 75% of the stuff isn’t even available in my size and if it is, I can tell it’s cheap and not going to fit well. Plus, even if I COULD find maybe one thing that would maybe kind of fit, I can’t ethically put my dollars towards a program that obviously does not care at all about me or women who look like me or are even bigger!
I too am a fan of Carla Rockmore but when I saw she was doing an Amazon Drop I was really disappointed. I agree with others here that Amazon is great for known brands, but fashion? By influencers? Puh-leeze.
Some things make sense on Amazon (Hanes makes some knit shorts with a wide waistband AND pockets that are great for yardwork and lounging). Simple things, with a known brand, and easy to fit correctly are okay for online.
But nothing where the length matters, or if it has darts, or if it needs to fit 3 things at once to look good (like boobs, waist, AND hips).
Side note – has there always been an ad for other content on the site between each paragraph and the next? It sort of disrupts the flow of what we are currently reading.
I’ve stopped buying clothes from Amazon except for sports bras. The fit is poor, the fabrics sub-par, and the garments fall apart in the wash. I’ll skip contributing to landfills-even though I donate my old clothes to Goodwill or to Dress for Success (when I retired!),
You can tell right off the bat that the clothing is going to be cheap. In the first photo/item, you see the rayon and the cheap thinness of the fabric and the puckered seams — and that’s the best it can ever look.
It’s fast fashion by another name. Why are you buying it??
Chelsea Henderson says
Hallelujah! The thing that bugs me most about The Drop is I can’t help but wonder how much of this fast fashion ends up, not in Thread Up or Goodwill bags, but landfills, where 85% of all textiles end up every year. Even for those who love their fast fashion til their pieces literally fall apart (i.e. next season), just washing them causes tons of microfibers (50 billion plastic bottles worth) into the ocean each year. For these reasons and more I especially appreciate your capsule wardrobe posts which show how people can get far with fewer items of clothing. When people think they can’t make a difference in climate change because it is overwhelming, personal decisions can have significant impacts.
Makayla Sampson says
Those are my sentiments also. I am concerned about Fast Fashion and the fashion industry in general contributing to global warming. I am encouraged right now that there is a huge trend to shop at consignment and thrift stores for clothing, including online thrift stores such as Poshmark, Depop, and ThredUp.
100%. Thank you for expressing what I was thinking.
“ I wonder if my age and shape have made me more critical and if I was younger and had an easier-to-fit shape, if I’d have a more positive feeling about the Amazon The Drop influencer collaborations!”
Add “never learned to sew”. I’ve sewn my own clothes. So when I saw the close up of the zipper & waist on the winged pants, my thought was “this is worse workmanship than a Home Ec project”.