If you’re over 30 and/or don’t follow a certain set of fashion influencers—an army of curvy young women who favor false eyelashes, heavy makeup, mermaid hair, and revealing, tight clothes in the model of queen bee influencers Kylie Jenner and Cardi B—you may not be aware of an online fashion retailer that’s risen to cult status among them.
New York magazine clued this writer into Fashion Nova, a faster-than-fast fast-fashion collection launched by an enterprising Israeli businessman that deals in the cropped, tight-fitting pieces worn consistently by Insta-thots (slang for women on Instagram whose sole purpose seems to be to show off their bodies).
The privately held company was the fourth-most-searched fashion brand in the United States, after Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Supreme and before Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Dior, according to the outlet, which also noted that its social media exposure is “greater than that of H&M and Zara combined.”
Fashion Nova’s popularity on Instagram has to do with its egalitarianism—it sells cheap, body-conscious clothes in a range of sizes. The company’s also stoked an ongoing contest of sorts among Fashion Nova followers with its proprietary #novababes.
Women who wear and love Fashion Nova can, out of the blue, be chosen as a brand ambassador for it—a deal that involves no money, but showers them with free clothes and exposure on FN’s social feeds and site. Ambassadors are picked from the thousands of women who post selfies bearing #novababes every week. The company pores through these posts to find their everyday models (of all sizes, it should be noted).
Young women flock to the potential opportunity because the brand still has Cardi B and other notables on the payroll—posting casual-feeling photos of themselves clad in Fashion Nova garb. New York magazine reported that Cardi B earns $20,000 a month from the retailer for a few well-timed posts.
While Fashion Nova specializes in clingy clothes, they also offer a full line of Forever 21–level costume jewelry. But really, there’s really only one jewelry style #novababes wear with regularity: hoop earrings—of which the e-tailer has a huge variety.
Perusing the #novababes hashtag, you’ll find thousands of intentionally glassy-eyed young women, cheekbones so heavily highlighted they could signal a landing airplane, wearing huge hoop earrings with their sexy athleisure looks.
Why does the mass adoption of hoop earrings by this specific cross-section of young women matter to jewelers? The classic hip-hop style is being marketed in new and alluring ways, daily, to young jewelry consumers.
Of course, hoop earrings have been a red-hot look for several seasons—especially in metropolitan areas. But Fashion Nova’s influence is national, if not global, and is a growing presence on the iPhones of trend-following teens.
Sure, Gen Z consumers constrained by price will continue to buy their gold hoops for $10 with fast-fashion retailers. But millennials and Gen-Xers with money to spend are also in the market for hoops (read about my personal quest for the perfect pair of gold-plated hoops) and are shopping both precious and plated varieties.
Here are some die-hard devotees of the #novababe style.
Top and above via: @lookbookza