Sahail Ashraf posted on 6 April 2017
Fashion Nova is a fashion house. That probably won’t surprise you. The name is kind of a giveaway. What may be a little more than intriguing is the manner in which it has become a recognisable, trusted brand. We are all used to seeing a ‘hard-working guy or gal makes good’ story, but Fashion Nova is something else. Here we have a brand that has created a movement, a tribe. And it did all of this, and engaged hundreds of thousands of fashion junkies, through the use of a single, still relatively new platform. And that platform is Instagram.
Instagram is perfect for fashion houses, companies and brands that have products that are inherently visual. So it makes sense that a fashion brand can be created, can develop, and then flourish on the platform. It is made for products, simple as that.
However, not every fashion brand enjoys the kind of quick success that Fashion Nova has created. It just doesn’t happen with this kind of speed and this kind of impact. Well, not often anyway. So taking a look at the brand’s story and looking for lessons is probably a very good idea.
If you take a look at the ‘About’ page of their site, you get an immediate clue as to why the brand has done so well. A simple snippet from their ‘About’:
“A Nova Star is always the best dressed girl in the room”
This is just one of the examples of how Fashion Nova has made it clear their customers are something special. But later on, there is the call to action that shows how social media is everything to the brand:
“Snap a picture of you being a #NOVASTAR in your Fashion Nova outfits and share it on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to tag us!”
And that, Ladies and Gents, is what Fashion Nova is all about.
It’s taken roughly three years and they are seen as the most popular Instagram fashion retailer. It’s a busy place as well, with hundreds (literally) of new designs being created every week. And there are 600 staff. That’s all in three years from zero.
The concept, according to the brand itself, is one of copying the good stuff. This literally means that Fashion Nova see what is working with stars and celebrities on social media, what they are wearing, and then bring out their own versions. These versions are inspired by the celebrity culture.
This is how Fashion Nova has tapped into the hearts and mind of millions of women who want to wear what the stars wear. The theory behind the brand came about because it recognised that women were scouring their social media feeds all day, and were being treated to snaps of celebrities wearing amazing clothing. It makes sense to offer what women really want, in other words.
But the brand also engineered its own success, by using a strategy that has become somewhat fashionable lately, no pun intended. The blog culture around fashion is massive. Fashion Nova realised this and started to reach out pretty much from day one. Using its image as a fun and inclusive brand (all women, including more curvaceous women) it made links with some of the most popular bloggers online. These bloggers often had thousands of followers and subscribers across their social media networks, not to mention the blogs themselves. This meant that the more Fashion Nova created new lines and boosted its image, the result was multiplied as a brand across a huge swathe of Web users.
And with women who buy clothes now congregating more readily online, so that prices and garments can be compared, Fashion Nova hit the right notes at the right time. Three years on, it is seen as Instagram’s biggest fashion retailer.
This incredibly astute move is best illustrated by looking at their collaboration page. Here, bloggers and celebrities are invited to get involved and collaborate. This means that the door is open to influencers. What has made Fashion Nova so popular has become the brand’s way of doing things. Join us, join a movement.
Here is one blogger, effectively creating a piece of advertising about the brand after a visit to one of their stores. Imagine this kind of work multiplied by the hundreds and that is how it seems to happen for Fashion Nova. If there is any argument that justifies reaching out to people, this is one of the best we have seen so far. Bloggers endorsing Fashion Nova can’t have hindered the brand’s push to the front of the queue. The following extract from the start of the post pretty much acts as a brochure text for the company:
This highly acclaimed affordable clothing boutique is based out of Downtown, LA and has 5 locations in Southern California; for the global fashionistas out there, Fashion Nova does ship globally so you can get a taste of what the brand have to offer.
Okay, the brand has also tapped into one of the biggest teen vloggers ever, Tana Mongeau.
She hasn’t always made everyone happy, but she has tremendous influence on YouTube. Her mission is to document her life, basically.
Part of this is the recording of her trying on Fashion Nova clothing and then using her tremendously hyperkinetic energy as she talks. She’s a big part of Fashion Nova’s demographic when it comes to the image, and for her to be such a huge fan of Fashion Nova has again helped with the rapid growth of the brand.
The Kardashians are also big fans and have done plenty to offer a boost. All of this has pushed the brand to over 7 million Instagram followers, and caused the founder and CEO of Fashion Nova, Richard Saghian, to name his company a ‘viral brand’.
The brand is potentially overly engaged (if that is possible) on the platform. Hundreds of photos per week are shared on Instagram, and they’re hashtagged to the hilt. With the influencers on top of this, it feels like an all-out assault on social.
The influencers are paid, with the lower profile influencers (not the Kardashians) being paid as little as $500 for the endorsements and mentions, and sometimes just even with freebies like the clothing itself. At first, it seems a little cynical, but in the end it’s just advertising. If a brand wanted to do this now, it may be worth looking at that model.
Finding influencers in your sphere, and paying or rewarding the lower level kind, means that you can slowly build up momentum. Obviously, fashion has the edge here, because people will want to wear those clothes. And the visual nature of Instagram makes for a perfect bedfellow. We don’t need to talk about creating great images for Instagram (we’ve done that), but with Fashion Nova, like all other fashion retailers, the clothes are the stars.
Behind all that though, is the ethos, the mission. The website practically bends over backwards to get you to share. The Instagram is a share-friendly, hashtagged goldmine of how to run a profile. Don’t mistake what they are doing for free advertising. They’be built a movement out of influencers and hashtags. But it feels like, with over 7 million followers (as of today’s date), Fashion Nova are kind of showing every other fashion brand how to do it right on Instagram.
They’re switched on (asking for shares) and they put the right people in front of their audience (influencers from all over the industry), and that’s how Fashion Nova has become so huge on Instagram in just three years. And by the way, it’s experiencing 10% growth in followers every month.
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