Fashion is always evolving. It’s no secret that trends are constantly changing, but so are the companies behind them. Fast fashion is a relatively recent phenomenon in the grand scheme of the industry, but it has caused undeniable changes cemented by industry names such as Zara and H&M.
Fast fashion is ever evolving, and new looks are continuously released. However, it’s essential to realize that the traditional model embraced by brick-and-mortar stores is simply not quick enough to keep up with the ever-shifting demand of the digital landscape. Fashion Nova, an LA-based label founded by Richard Saghian, signals a change in the fast fashion industry. Instead of relying on sales in brick and mortar stores, Fashion Nova has grown with an almost entirely online, direct to consumer model. As one of Google’s most-searched fashion brands in 2018, the company spreads its name through social media by partnering with top-tier stars such as Kylie Jenner, Cardi B, and Adrienne Bailon. As of June 2020, Fashion Nova has over 18.5 million followers on Instagram.
However, there’s more to Fashion Nova than just media buzz and social media popularity. The company was able to reach such dizzying levels of engagement and success due to its nimbleness and low costs, which is rooted in its business structure.
A Nimble Company Means More Looks
By featuring its full product catalog online, Fashion Nova is able to excel at two things that traditional clothing retailers can’t hope to compete with: speed and cost. Since the company’s business is predominantly online, it’s feasible to embrace a made to order approach, which pushes away the need to hold significant inventory.
Eliminating the need to hold lots of inventory means cost savings. There’s no longer a need to store thousands or millions of articles of clothing in warehouses all around the US. The lack of excess inventory also means that Fashion Nova isn’t bound by leftover looks from seasons before – there’s no need to create plans or devote manpower to come up with ways to sell old looks, as they simply don’t exist.
Fashion Nova doesn’t just pocket its cost savings. The company passes them on to the consumer. However, there is more to the company’s cost savings than just eliminating inventory. The company’s online operations mean that there’s a whole host of other benefits baked into its business structure. Traditional brick and mortar companies face a whole host of costs, such as the cost of running storefronts, hiring a legion of employees, and deliveries between facilities. Fashion Nova’s direct to consumer model simplifies and cuts away much of these costs, which ultimately leads to the second reason why Fashion Nova enjoys such incredible success.
Mindboggling Rate of Newness
But Fashion Nova’s direct to consumer business model does more than simply make clothing cheaper. It also makes the company much more agile and quick to respond. By operating purely online, it positions Fashion Nova to easily develop, test, and sell new looks in very short cycles. In fact, Fashion Nova offers a staggering number of new looks each week, as many as 600 to 900 new styles, and many of them sell for under 50 US dollars.
Fashion Nova can do this because they partner with over 1,000 manufacturers located around the US. Since the company has such a widely distributed labor force, they can whip up samples within 24 hours of designing a concept and then photograph in-house models within another day. This means a finalized design could be available online within as little as 48 hours, which is staggeringly quick compared to traditional business models.
Fashion Nova’s processes almost seem reminiscent of a technology company rather than a fashion brand – especially since other retailers such as Forever 21 and Bonobo have been struggling to keep up with Fashion Nova’s rate of newness.
Slowdown is OK
Fashion Nova’s online-only model meant it isn’t at the mercy of landlords and debtholders when the economy ground to a halt due to COVID-19. Even though the company had shut down on March 17th in response to the pandemic, Fashion Nova was still able to reopen and deliver its goods to people all around the US.
The low costs associated with an online business model means it can weather periods of weak economic activity far more comfortably than its competitors. In addition, Fashion Nova’s significant social media presence also serves as a means to help take a stand against the impacts of the coronavirus. On April 13th, Fashion Nova partnered with Cardi B to give away $1,000 every hour until May 20th to people struggling under the epidemic.
Much like fashion trends, the businesses behind fashion are changing too. A new generation of fashion brands, such as Fashion Nova, are delivering new looks at unprecedented rates. While traditional brick and mortar stores are struggling, online-based retailers are positioned to thrive when the COVID-based retail apocalypse ends.