Earlier this week, Google published its 2017 Year in Search charts, which reveals that as unique as we think we are, we’re all searching for bitcoin, Meghan Markle, and iPhones. And if you’re a millennial who follows Cardi B or Kylie Jenner on Instagram, you’re also probably searching for Fashion Nova, the Los Angeles-based fast-fashion e-commerce brand that sells $25 Girl Please denim tops and $20 Work It elastic waistband pants. As noted by The Cut, Fashion Nova surpasses legacy brands like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, only behind Supreme, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci.
The formula is simple—and profitable: get shout-outs from a rolodex of 3,000-5,000 influencers (according to founder and CEO, Richard Saghian), be hyper-engaged on social media, sell disposable clothing for a wide range of body sizes, and keep your prices lower than competitors like NastyGal. In other words, don’t alienate your customer. Embrace them. The brand’s Instagram, for example, re-posts about 30 outfits from customers’ Instagrams every week, in addition to engaging on every single photo in which the brand is tagged. All of them!
It doesn’t matter to Fashion Nova that Vogue magazine isn’t featuring the brand in its editorials—after all, Cardi B is wearing (video) her $60 Fashion Nova turtleneck and hip-hugging jeans alongside a Patek Philippe $100,000 watch. “Basically, she’s saying, I can buy my expensive watch, buy the expensive shoes, but this dress is hot and it’s only 30 bucks. Why do I have to lie about where I got it from?” Saghian told Vice in January 2017. “It’s just not right for girls to pay that much money. They have enough problems as it is, you know… They shouldn’t be brainwashed into paying a lot for clothes.” However, as one anonymous Quartz staffer who shops from competitors like Boohoo, Missguided, and PrettyLittleThing points out, the clothes from these wear-for-the-‘gram retailers are low in quality. But at least they’re cheaper than Nasty Gal (owned by the same company as Boohoo and Missguided) for similar levels of wear-and-tear.
Along with price, Fashion Nova is also winning big —and a big Google presence—for embracing diversity in all of its senses. Traditionally, for instance, retailers have steered baggy, shapeless clothes to its customers size 16 and up. Yet, unlike other fast-fashion retailers, Fashion Nova doesn’t push plus-size and curvy women—especially those who are women of color—to the style margins. Instead, Fashion Nova features designs that are truly fashionable at all sizes, beautifully presented pore-less models with curves (butts, boobs, and everything in between) and pouty lips. And they grace the front page (and every page) of the website—not just the “plus size” sections. They’re the norm, not the exception. “I love what the brand stands for: all body types accepted and flaunted,” Alexandria Williams, a customer, told Vice.