In the last five years, internet shopping has reached new heights with the arrival of fashion flash sale sites, where shoppers compete for bargains on luxury brands. The thrill is in the online hunt. Shoppers see an item they like and put it in their virtual shopping cart before another shopper grabs it, and have a limited amount of time to decide if they want the item. Here is a rundown on some of the sites and how they differ. Signing up is as simple as submitting your email address. Once you join, you can get hooked. Before you click the “buy” button, shop around.
Launched in Los Angeles in 2007 and since acquired by Nordstrom, HauteLook is a members-only site featuring limited-time sale events on premium fashion and lifestyle brands at savings of up to 75 percent. Each day at 8 a.m. Pacific Time, HauteLook offers new online sale events featuring top names in women’s and men’s fashion and accessories, beauty, kids apparel, toys and home décor. Membership is free. HauteLook brands are top notch and trendy but tend to be more accessible and somewhat less expensive then sites that focus on couture labels. A recent sale included Love Stitch maxi sun dresses for $29 (regular $88), pricier dresses from designer Rebecca Taylor, and a variety of sandals for around $25.
Gilt, founded in 2007, features top designer labels at savings of up to 60 percent. A recent Gilt sale featured dresses and tops from contemporary casualwear designer Ella Moss, B Brian Atwood shoes, women’s clothing brands Alex + Alex and Walter, and Blush Lingerie.
MyHabit offers saving of up to 60 percent on designer and boutique brands. Founded by Amazon.com, MyHabit offers free, instant membership and free shipping on U.S. orders. The site differentiates itself by using 360-video technology, showcasing the actual fit and drape of the clothing on live models. Most online sales events start at 9 a.m. Pacific Time and last 72 hours. Categories include women’s, men’s and children’s fashion and accessories, as well as home, toys, books and beauty products. Recent sales included L.A.M.B clothing by Gwen Stefani, Ellen Tracy sandals, and beach cover-ups from Trina Turk and Vitamin A.
Rue La La
Founded in Boston in 2008, Rue La La offers a wide range of prices and styles. Under the “Vintage” category was a pre-owned vintage Louis Vuitton purse that sold for $849, maxi dresses and sandals by Anne Klein and a “200 Shoes Under $50” category that featured Puma and Rockport, among other brands.
Four-year-old, Seattle-based Zulily is a site devoted to moms, offering children’s and women’s clothing, toys and kitchenware. Little-known brands mix with well-known labels from designers like Betsey Johnson. Savings can be as great as 85 percent off retail. Users report slow shipping times compared to other sites.