Amazon has been quietly expanding its menswear private labels, which are available exclusively to Prime Members. We break down three of Amazon’s key menswear lines, Amazon Essentials, Goodthreads and Buttoned Down, as well as many other Prime brands including Brass Tacks, Denim Garage Classics and Trimthread.Curious about Amazon Fashion’s Prime labels for women? See our guide to Amazon Prime Brands for women including Lark and Ro, Daily Ritual and Wild Meadow.
This post was first published in August 2018 last updated on December 30, 2019.
A Brief History of Amazon Fashion Prime Brands
Back in February 2016, Amazon Fashion debuted a series of seven clothing and footwear brands for men, women and children as it moved more directly into the retail apparel business.
In 2017, Amazon Fashion launched additional private label apparel brands, including Goodthreads, Amazon Essentials, Buttoned Down, and Lark & Ro. Since then, Amazon has continued to launch new brands, and has discontinued others.
While many of their brands have come online quietly, sometimes the launches are a little splashier: For example, in 2018, the company put out a press release to announce the debut of Amazon label Meraki, a European fashion brand focusing on “simple, modern essential” pieces, including thin, v-neck sweaters for men.
Amazon Fashion Deals during Prime Day
Amazon Fashion Prime Brands were a featured category during Amazon Prime Day in 2019 and during prior years’ sales.
Amazon’s trademark summer sale began back in 2015 and has grown into a multi-day extravaganza. Amazon Prime Day has become so big that other innovative brands are crashing Prime Day to offer alternative sales. In 2019, Amazon Prime Days were July 15 and 16.
In addition to deals on Kindles and Alexa-enabled devices, during Amazon Prime Day, Prime Members are likely to see tremendous bargains on Amazon’s Prime Fashion brands for men and women. For example, during Prime Day 2018, Amazon sliced 30-50% off its Prime Fashion Brands including Amazon Essentials, Buttoned Down and Goodthreads.
Remember that deals on these days are exclusive to Amazon Prime Members. If you are not a member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime.
An Overview of Amazon Fashion Prime Brands for Men (from Amazon Essentials to Goodthreads to Urban Shoes Company)
Today Amazon maintains a growing stable of everyday basics for men including cotton t-shirts, slim fit chinos, button-down shirts, leather weekender bags, colorful socks, accessories and footwear.
The retailer is clearly positioning its Prime Brands for men to compete alongside established menswear brands and innovative menswear startup brands on its site.
Here’s a comparison of their major brands including Goodthreads, Amazon Essentials and Buttoned Down, as well as a rundown of their other brands:
Amazon Essentials features basic, affordable clothing staples for men
Amazon Essentials is the online retailer’s entry line, featuring everyday staples that find some compromises. Men can nab a slim-fit 100% cotton polo shirt, extremely affordable pajama pants or a 2-pack of short-sleeve crewneck t-shirts at an attractive price point. Classic fit, wrinkle-resistant, flat front chino pants are another option, though the pants are a 40% polyester / 60% cotton blend.
Amazon Essentials looks like a fast-fashion version of labels such as Dockers, Old Navy and JC Penney house brands like St. John’s Bay.
Goodthreads is Amazon’s answer to Banana Republic
Goodthreads is Amazon’s primary mid-level Prime Fashion Brand for men. Amazon invites fans of J Crew, Banana Republic and Izod menswear to try its Goodthreads line, which is a step up from “Amazon Essentials.” The company advertises Goodthreads as a “go-to for wardrobe staples with the style you want.”
Goodthreads sports a really attractive combination of style and fit — and with decidedly more variety than the Buttoned Down line — across dress and casual button down shirts, chinos, shorts, t-shirts and socks.
Goodthreads’ button down shirts are particularly attractive, from plaid cotton poplins to their two-pocket Chambray button-collar shirt to Goodthreads’ grey, two-pocket cotton button-down work-shirt.
I’ve ordered a number of shirts, pants, shorts and socks from Goodthreads. Overall, I’m impressed by the quality of the materials and the fit of the brand. I especially like Goodthreads’ comfort stretch chino shorts, which I’m wearing as I type this, as well as their ridiculously affordable, colorful, stripy socks.
I also really like the look of Goodthreads 5 pocket chino pants feature a hint of spandex alongside 99% cotton twill — certainly an upgrade from the polyester blend of Amazon Essentials — and a “jean-inspired silhouette.” I also like the look of the shawl collar cotton cardigan sweater, which comes in an interesting range of colors (and has pockets).
Buttoned Down is Amazon’s alternative to Brooks Brothers, offering an affordable luxury line of “elevated menswear”
Offerings like super-affordable cashmere v-neck, crew neck, half-zip and full-zip sweaters, even more affordable button down Supima cotton shirts, neckties and bow ties, and attractive chinos suggest attractive price-points for a luxury line that has to be positioning itself to compete with Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom and Bonobos.
I am particularly fond of the look of Button Down’s 100% cashmere full-zip cardigan sweater.
Buttoned Down also offers an unconditional lifetime satisfaction guarantee that provides a full refund to customers if not completely satisfied “at any time.” That’s rare for any company, let alone Amazon, who has been protective about its return policies.
Brass Tacks Leathercraft offers gorgeous leather bags and accessories
Brass Tacks Leathercraft offers super-attractive leather bags and accessories, including a waxed canvas travel bag, leather briefcase, waxed canvas briefcase and, our favorite, a large capacity Leather Utility Classic Doctor Duffel Weekend Work Bag. Many of the line’s products are made with vintage “Crazy Horse” or saddle leather, which has a waxy, vintage appearance.
Trimthread features sleek business casual pieces
Amazon’s Instagram ads have been promoting Trimthread‘s jackets and overcoats for men — think military bomber jackets and casual corduroy trucker coats — though the brand also offers button down shirts, slacks and other tops and bottoms focused on business and business casual pieces.
Franklin Tailored was Amazon’s first effort at suits and sports coats
Franklin Tailored, was one of the first private label fashion brands Amazon launched in 2016. At the time, it was a well-received entry into affordable tailored clothing for men, complete with nailhead sports coats, wool trousers and tuxedos — some of which were made in Canada.
While the selection of Franklin Tailored merchandise on Amazon had been limited for a while, stock appears to have increased as of December 2019. Curiously, Franklin Tailored is no longer listed as one of Amazon’s brands in its filtering function. Amazon now offers suiting options, like this Italian-wool suit through its Buttoned Down brand.
Franklin and Freeman was Amazon’s first shoe brand
Amazon launched its in-house men’s shoe brand Franklin and Freeman at the same time as Franklin Tailored in 2016. The shoes and boots are made in China from leather or suede and tend towards the dressier side. As of this writing, selection is spotty and the company does not list Franklin and Freeman among its house brands on its website.
Amazon Prime Brands for jeans: Denim Garage, Comfort Denim Outfitters, Nothing but Denim, and more
Amazon maintains a dizzying selection of denim via a series of private lane brands.
Here is a quick guide to differentiating between the various jeans offered on Amazon.com via its Prime Brands:
Comfort Denim Outfitters
Comfort Denim Outfitters is a really affordable price point for premium fabrics sourced from some of the world’s best mills in India. The brand offers a slew of washes and detailing including selvedge edges on raw denim.
Amazon’s Quality Durables brand features, according to the company, “authentically washed and lived-in essentials, timeless denim, and rugged work wear,” and their jeans appear to focus on comfort, with some jeans featuring a stretchable waistband and elastane for stretch.
Amazon Essentials supplies other options including these men’s straight fit stretch jeans made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane, and Goodthreads has upgraded essentials like this pair of straight fit cotton/elastane blend dark blue rinse jeans as well as more densely-woven selvedge jeans.
206 Collective is Amazon’s most versatile footwear brand for men and women
Amazon’s 206 Collective brand delivers comfortable, smart casual and dress shoe options for men and women. Options for men include navy suede oxfords, rubber soled nubuck boat shoes (aka moccasins) and leather low-top sneakers. 206 Collective’s shoes feature German rubber soles, unique detailing and clean welt stitching.
Urban Shoes Co. sports upscale dress shoes for work
Founded in 2018, Urbane Shoes Co. offers an attractive selection of blue, black and brown dress shoes for work including single monk straps in scotch, black lace-up, cap-toe chukka boots, and deep blue, brogued wing-tip lace-up oxfords. Urbane Shoes Co. advertises that it uses “crust leather,” which is tanned but untreated and provides a blank slate for dying and allows shoes to show character and a rich patina.
A Shorthand Guide to Other Amazon Menswear brands
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Amazon’s ever-expanding stable of fast-fashion menswear brands. Amazon has quietly rolled out a series of new brands over the past several years including:
- Badger Smith (super-funky button down shirts in bold plaids, stripes and colors),
- Cashmeren is focused on cashmere basics. The brand’s densely-knitted, long-strand wool resists pilling. Sizes run small, according to the manufacturer.
- Casual Terrains features vintage and hipster-inspired pieces including a short sleeve camp shirt, a hidden placket button down, and printed vintage dress shirt with a fit similar to slim-fit shirts from J.Crew & Banana Republic
- Chain Stitch carries sweaters, flannels and more “for a well-stitched life”
- Clifton Heritage (button down shirts and chinos),
- Comfort Denim Outfitters and Denim Garage Classics (jeans),
- find offers modern takes on inexpensive clothing and shoe basics for men (pants, sweaters, t-shirts, cotton boxer briefs, leather sneakers and workboots) and women (block heel mule open-toe sandals, jumpsuits, high waist paperbag pants, jeans, t-shirts and more),
- Flying Ace (comfortable, stylish, affordable casualwear and fitness gear, including t-shirts, jersey tops and pants),
- Good Brief (underwear and cotton stretch basics),
- 28 Palms and Isle Bay Linens (island-inspired linen and cotton shirts, pants and shorts),
- Linz Pure and the Knitwear Lab (sweaters),
- Peak Velocity (performance athletic wear),
- The Plus Project – rain-resistant and waterproof jackets,
- Portland Plaid Co. (rugged outerwear for men and women),
- Quality Durables (“casual lifestyle”),
- RADHYPE features performance athletic wear,
- Rebel Canyon (“more than just a streetwear label, it’s a way of life”),
- Something for Everyone (“streetwear classics for men and women”),
- The Slumber Project – pajamas and sleepwear,
- Trailside (hiking, ski and outdoor clothing and accessories) and
- Wood Paper Company features modern takes on iconic workwear, including stretch chinos and an understated button-down Buffalo Plaid Cotton Shirt
Amazon appears to be testing a number of different concepts and supporting the ones that gain traction, though some of the lines could use some additional baking.
For example, Chain Stitch specializes in striped crew neck sweaters, though the branding reads like it was written by someone whose first language is something other than English. This is their “story” from Amazon’s website: “We use cotton as the main material to produce clothing – adding some fashion elements to make you wear cozily and worrilessly. It’s made for everyday wear, in the name of fashion.” Yikes.
List of Discontinued Amazon Prime Fashion Brands for Men
Amazon has also quietly retired several of their fashion brands for men. As of this writing, the following Amazon Prime Fashion Brands for Men no longer appear to be available for sale:
- Denim Garage Classics was designed to be your favorite jeans featuring premium fabrics, washes and whiskering to produce classic denim for men and women at a mid-price point. I had liked the look of a pair relaxed, straight leg jeans for men in deep blue, which had a hint of elastane stretch and button fly, as well as 3D fading and (purposly) ripped details on the knees.
- Nothing But Denim was a little edgier, with detailed stitching – evident on a cool pair of black jeans – and in some cases more aggressive washes, fading, tearing and even patches.
- Rugged Mile focused on ethically sourced wardrobe staples, and their jeans were constructed from cotton and “LYCRA dualFX technology” (aka T400 Elasterell-P nad LYCRA Elastane), which were developed to improve fabric flexibility and recovery and are also found in denim from American Eagle.
Buying Amazon Fashion Brands via Prime Wardobe
I have tried out a number of clothing brands using Amazon Prime Wardrobe, a sort of try-before-you buy service exclusively for Prime members.
Here’s how it works: Customers can fill a Prime Wardrobe Box with 2 or more items of clothing, shoes and/or accessories that are eligible for the program. (These items can be from Amazon Prime Fashion brands or other companies.) Take seven days to try them out; keep what you like; and return the rest.
It’s a unique opportunity to mix-and-match a number of different wardrobe elements together. That is, as long as you’re cognizant of the short time frame to return the items you don’t want to keep.
Have you tried Amazon’s private label menswear brands? What has your experience been?
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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