Amazon is reportedly hiring new developers and graphic designers with
high-end fashion backgrounds as part of a more upscale approach to selling apparel and footwear.

According to a report in the Financial Times, is staging a relaunch that has its sites set on “rivals such as Yoox and Net-A-Porter.”

The e-tailer is recruiting software engineering talent to help it develop “great new features to change the way people shop for clothing.” It is also looking to provide a more sophisticated visual experience
with expanded viewing options and color variations that it began using
in its denim store during last year's Christmas selling season.

Amazon also last year acquired Zappos. Copying the Zappos formula, it is now
offering free returns on all U.S. clothing orders over $25.

The push by Amazon comes on the heels of the eBay Fashion ( launch in early April. That site is looking to build on the traditional eBay approach by adding an online mall of top retailers, such as Brooks Brothers and Lord & Taylor, as well as offering flash sales.

Fashion sales at eBay in 2009 have been estimated at somewhere between $5.5 billion and $7.1 billion. Scot Wingo, chief executive of ChannelAdvisor told the Financial Times that Amazon's clothing, accessory and shoe sales are estimated in the $6 billion to $8 billion range.