You probably know the name Fashion Nova.
These days, you can’t scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing at least one sponsored post from a reality TV star or celebrity. With the help of social media marketing combined with its affordability, the brand has asserted itself as a clothing powerhouse.
But I noticed something quite interesting when I was looking at dresses over the weekend. Around three pages in, I realized there were barely any dark-skinned Black women or just Black women in general. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say I went through the whole website and their Instagram. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t jumping to conclusions. 61 pages and three thousand and 38 dresses later, I counted one dark model.
It was literally 50 shades of beige, with a few models in the tan-deep category thrown in. Most of the models are either Hispanic, white, light-skinned, or racially ambiguous. It’s almost like Fashion Nova does the brown paper bag test before the models can work for them.
If we’re going just by skin tone alone, the models look like me. So I have one question for the brand:
How can you spend so much money marketing to Black women, but you can’t even put Black women of different skin tones on your website or social media pages?
Yes, I understand that women of all races shop at Fashion Nova. But, if you look closely at Fashion Nova’s marketing tactics, you’ll realize that they actively target Black women.
They pay Black blogs like The Shade Room, whose main demographic are Black people, millions to promote their latest urban styles.
Reality TV vixens from predominately Black shows like Love and Hip Hop and Black Ink Crew show off their “fashion nova fit” on their own Instagram pages, which then get reposted to the Fashion Nova page. This is the only time you see darker black women on their main Instagram.
Fashion Nova also has a second Instagram page, Fashion Nova Curve. The plus-size page has 2.6 million followers — 13 million less than the brand’s main page. Unlike the website and the company’s main Instagram, the plus-size page showcases a diverse range of models and influencers.
While I love that they’re giving plus-size women the limelight, why are they only putting models of a deeper complexion on the plus-size page?
For those of you not well-versed in racial stereotypes, plus-size dark Black women have been stigmatized in America for centuries. Black women who were bigger and darker were deemed less attractive. I honestly think that Fashion Nova is using this kind of tactic. If they weren’t, why are they keeping the plus-size page, the one that doesn’t gain as much traffic, separate from the main one? On top of that, why not include all of the models on the main Fashion Nova page? They’re basically putting out the message that they only want a certain type of model on their main account.
Their blatant colorism doesn’t need to be verbalized, we can see it plain as day on our screens. They’re happy to take our money but actually including us? That’s another story.
Fashion Nova has some work to do. And until they fix the issue, I can’t see myself giving my hard-earned money to a company that doesn’t see the beauty of all Black women.
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Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.