Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian debuted new leisurewear from her Skims fashion line. The look is called Cozy Collection and mostly consists of fuzzy sweats. Well, around the same time, according to Instagram’s date stamp anyway, Fashion Nova — a fashion company based in Los Angeles — was already marketing their version of the Cozy Collection called Cozy Sets. People on social media were quick to say Fashion Nova was simply trolling Kardashian’s collection. Either way, Kardashian has accused them of replicating her looks before.
That is, however, the definition of fast fashion, garments that are designed quickly, constructed even faster, and marketed for sale on social media. How is all of that possible? It’s a fashion trend that has put Fashion Nova on the center stage of fashion retail. But there’s something shady going on.
In a New York Times investigation, the publication found that the retailer has been successful for the quick turnover in fashion looks in large part because the vendors they’re working with could be exploiting their workers. The publication reports that the United States Labor Department is investigating Fashion Nova for paying their seamstresses as little as $2.77 an hour.
Fashion Nova, which began as a retailer in 2006 in Los Angeles, has expanded considerably in the past couple of years thanks to influencers on Instagram who share their pieces online. Celebrities such as Cardi B and Blac Chyna also promote their fashion on their respective pages.
“In investigations conducted from 2016 through this year, the department discovered Fashion Nova clothing being made in dozens of factories that owed $3.8 million in back wages to hundreds of workers, according to internal federal documents that summarized the findings and were reviewed by The New York Times.”
Fashion Nova’s legal team has denied all charges and told the publication that they are working directly with the Department of Labor to ensure “that all workers involved with the Fashion Nova brand are appropriately compensated for the work they do,” Erica Meierhans, Fashion Nova’s general counsel, said in a statement to The Times. “Any suggestion that Fashion Nova is responsible for underpaying anyone working on our brand is categorically false.”
Whatever the business practice is that Fashion Nova is conducting with their vendors, when something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
In response to the New York Times piece, fashion writer Tyler McCall tweeted, “When your clothes are extremely cheap, this is why. Don’t ever try to fool yourself into believing otherwise.”
Cardi B, who released a fashion collection with Fashion Nova last year, which sold out, has yet to comment about her current relationship with the company.