Amazon has announced that it is planning to open a huge photography studio in trendy east London, in an effort to further its ambitions to become a leader in online fashion retail.
The 46,000 square foot space in Shoreditch will bigger than its equivalent premise in the U.S. It is due to open in the summer of 2015 and will be the focus of images of clothing – either worn by models or just plain product shots.
The move provides an insight into the company's focus on fashion in Europe. Currently, Amazon remains best known for its sale of entertainment and tech products, despite launching its Clothing Store in the U.K. in 2008.
Fashion is one of Amazon's fastest-growing businesses in Europe, according to Sergio Bucher, vice-president of Amazon Fashion EU.
"The creation of this new studio illustrates both our ambitions in this area and our dedication to providing a first class customer experience," he said in a statement.
It comes after Amazon opened a 40,000 square foot imaging studio in Brooklyn, New York in 2013.
The Shoreditch studio may not be the largest in Europe, however, as Amazon claimed. French e-commerce company Vente-privee.com said its studio is over 100,000 square foot.
Anusha Couttigane, fashion consultant at retail analysts Conlumino, said opening a photography studio was "curious move" for Amazon, "as it is quite a sizable investment in what is already a highly penetrated market".
But Amazon is keen to get a slice of the action, becoming an official patron of the British Fashion Council in September. In a release, the retailer said it had signed up over 100 fashion brands since the start of this year, including Emporio Armani, Ted Baker and Vivienne Westwood, and had also started to enter into exclusive deals with designers. It recently launched exclusive collections with British designers Osman and Solange Azagury-Partridge.
This focus on premium brands shed light on Amazon's investment in a state-of-the-art facility, which Couttigane said "will help to get high end brands on side".
"These… brands place a great deal of emphasis on how their collections are represented in the media," she told CNBC. "If Amazon is seeking to compound its offer at the designer end, it needs to demonstrate that it has the best platform through which these highly selective brands can be sold."
- By CNBC's Katrina Bishop
Clarification: This article has been updated since publication to include reference to Vente-privee.com's studio.