In 2020, it’s all but undeniable: Fashion Nova is the fashion brand that mastered the art of using Instagram to achieve what other brands couldn’t.
You can tell because they’ve mastered an aesthetic – if you’ve seen photos of curvy women in distressed jeans, velvet dresses, and latex bodysuits, you’ve seen Fashion Nova in action.
However, the big difference between Fashion Nova and their competitors is this: unlike brands that rely solely on models, A-listers, and celebrities to drive sales, Fashion Nova knows how to make their customer feel like a star. This means that instead of spending money on a fancy retail presence in international boutiques, runway shows, or traditional ad campaigns, they’ve poured everything into Instagram to extraordinary effect.
Between 2014 and 2017, Fashion Nova sold out collection after collection, hired hundreds of employees, picked up millions of followers, and built an army of celebrity admirers, including Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Christina Milian, and Amber Rose, to name just a small handful. Rapper Cardi B was an early fan of the brand, talking about them long before she was a household name (or even a contestant on Love and Hip Hop: New York).
The Fashion Nova strategy looks to social media not just for growth and customer engagement, but for inspiration; they use what megastars wear as a jumping off point to quickly create unique pieces of their own, rolling out hundreds of items per month. No one wants to go out and see someone wearing the same piece, or the same complete look; Fashion Nova all but guarantees that this doesn’t happen by releasing so many items and making them available so quickly.
Without a massive ad campaign, how do they get seen? Fashion Nova has an extraordinary eye for finding fans of the brand – that they encourage shoppers to post photos of themselves with the tag #NovaBabes doesn’t hurt – and giving them opportunities to model and share their love of Fashion Nova with their tens or hundreds of thousands of followers. Typically in exchange for free clothes, Fashion Nova gets an opportunity to reach millions of people, and these posts can generate huge numbers of sales. Furthermore, by giving brand ambassadors discount codes to work with, the company could easily track whose posts performed best – and determine who could best help them continue to grow their sales.
On the paid side, Fashion Nova has revealed that a single sponsored post from Kylie Jenner can be responsible for as much as $50,000 in revenue, and her love of the brand has also proven to be hugely impactful on the company’s bottom line. Support from Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian hasn’t hurt, either, and their love of both designer clothing and fast fashion provides fans with something to want that they can have now and something to aspire to in the future.
Furthermore, unlike other brands, who may be more reserved with how often they post, Fashion Nova has found a sweet spot that stops people from getting tired of them that may seem unusually high: every 30 minutes. The brand posts a mixture of still image, video, and story content that keeps them in prospective customers’ thoughts and eyes all day, and the never ending quantity of clothes ensures that they don’t have to post the same garment more than once.
Alongside their main line, Fashion Nova has also added a Men’s line as well as a Curve line, offering plus sizes as large as 3X for an audience that has rarely felt catered to by the modern fashion industry. They’ve also started to roll out seasonal costumes as of 2018.
Their price point is also approachable by everyone. The brand makes a point of keeping the majority of their clothes at between $20 and $30, even as their audience has grown and they’ve had the power to sell to higher-end clients.
That said, what they’re doing is working. Fashion Nova became one of the most searched fashion brands by 2017, and was the most searched fashion brand in the world, overtaking a number of major designer brands, by 2018.
The company has since achieved major financial wins as well. A partnership with now-superstar Cardi B launched a collection that sold out of 82 pieces in just minutes, while a second collection with the brand hit $1 million in sales within one day. In fact, a number of pieces sold out or nearly ran out of stock shortly after going on sale despite the brand’s shrewd decision to produce five times as many clothes as they did for the first collection.
Other collaborations have proven fruitful, too. Fashion Nova has collected everything Kylie Jenner has worn from the brand into a single, easily shoppable collection, and has also worked with Kehlani, Teyana Taylor, and others who celebrate the company’s clothes, get them in front of fans, and sell complete collections of their own on the brand’s online store.
This combination of ambassadorship at all levels, embrace of plus-size product, and willingness to produce exactly what consumers want – all the time – and deliver it to them within a matter of weeks – has proven to be a winning strategy, and one that works perfectly for Instagram. The social media platform has given Fashion Nova the springboard it needed to dominate the world of “Instagram fashion,” now reaching nearly 20 million users across multiple platforms and communicating with customers multiple times a day.
Though social media is full of success stories that take unknowns to brand name recognition, few are quite as astounding, game-changing, or meteoric as Fashion Nova’s. The brand continues to see massive growth, receive big love from its still-growing audience, and will likely give a powerful platform to the next Cardi B as Cardi continues to launch hugely successful collection after collection. At the heart of it all is the simple power to share photos and videos with the world, but Fashion Nova proves that what you do – and how you do it – is key.