For every four terrible items I receive from Fashion Nova, there’s always one that blows everything else I own out of the water. It fits better than my favorite dress, it’s trendier than anything I think I can afford, and I get more IG likes than a post from Coachella Weekend One.
That’s the thing about Fashion Nova. We know their quality leaves something to be desired, we know they have shady business practices, and even though they don’t disclose a lot of information on their production, we have to imagine they don’t maintain the most ethical or environmentally-friendly labor conditions. Their founder and CEO is so reclusive, he might as well be a ghost, and they act like culture vultures by profiting from black culture while taking advantage of black models and designers. Yet, they’re still one of the fastest online growing retailers because their sh*t is cute and we’re all poor. Oh, and because America doesn’t seem to care at all about black women, but that’s a whole other article.
If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to take the plunge, read these stories about sixteen (of many!) times in the past two years Fashion Nova has blatantly (allegedly) stolen their designs, and see if you can still convince yourself that saving $20 is worth that nagging feeling in your gut that you just did something bad. I don’t know if I can anymore.
Kim Kardashian West was livid when she noticed that Fashion Nova had been “inspired” by her vintage Manfred Theirry Mugler gown in February 2019. While the OG piece, the “Winning Beauty Cut Out Gown,” is nowhere to be found on the fast fashion site, they still offer other variations on the iconic torso design like the “Winning Beauty Cut Out Bodysuit.” The collection was released for pre-order only one day after Kim wore her Mugler gown to the Hollywood Beauty Awards, and Kim took umbrage at fast fashion websites trying to use her style to gain clout, according to TMZ.
Fashion Nova has been called out for being colorist by influencer Jackie Aina, but their shadiness towards black people goes beyond excluding darker fit models from their site. FN has ripped off multiple designs from black designers like Luci Wilden, the crochet artist behind the boutique fashion brand Knots & Vibes. Luci noticed the copycat dress in January 2019 and took to her IG to note that the design was the same “detail for detail.” Fashion Nova responded to her complaint by shifting the blame to the fashion wholesalers that they buy their products from, even though they had a very different story when speaking on how they were inspired by Kim Kardashian in February.
Support the original artist and buy Luci's "Skin Out Dress — Rasta" for $100 on Knots & Vibes.
Destiney Bleu is another bad*ss black designer who has publicly complained about Fashion Nova allegedly copying her designs. Destiny’s company, d.bleu.dazzled, lost nearly a hundred thousand dollars worth of business after Fashion Nova imitated a design once worn by Kylie Jenner, the designer told Revelist. Destiney hand-crafts her bedazzled designs, which have been worn by Kali Uchi on her 2019 tour and Ashley Graham at the MET Gala, but Fashion Nova still sells knock-off products to this day.
Shop the OG looks on d.bleu.dazzled’s website.
Fashion Nova via RevelistKloset Envy
Jai Nice put Fashion Nova on blast for buying her Black Nadia hoodie, copying for the Fashion Nova x Cassie collection, and then returning it. She’s got receipts, posting the return label to IG and clearly showing that the item was returned courtesy of “Fashion Nova Returns” before a copycat item mysteriously appeared on Fashion Nova’s site. Jai said she has proof that the brand bought two of her hoodies, ostensibly to see how they were made, and slid in that the brand jacked one of her models as well.
Buy the original design for $62 on Kloset Envy.
Not long after Fashion Nova’s not-so-stealthy recon on Jai’s Black Nadia hoodie, the brand blocked Jai on Instagram, which definitely doesn’t scream, “I’m guilty!” or anything. Less than a year later, in February 2019, Jai saw *another* dress on Fashion Nova’s website that she found eerily similar to one she sold on her Kloset Envy site. Jai called out Fashion Nova in an IG post for “paying the culture to promote [them]” while stealing black designer’s work.
Kloset Envy no longer sells this dress on their site, but you can buy other dope looks like this Venom Red Mini Dress for $58.
IG influencer and crochet darling n00rvana had her handmade design allegedly jacked by Fashion Nova in February 2019, and it’s not even a *good* replication. At least with the Black Nadia hoodie, it looked like the FN was kind of trying, but this knit crop can’t hold a candle to the crocheted original. The ruffles lack bounce, it holds no shape, and putting it in red doesn’t make it original, Richard. n00rvana called the copycat out on Twitter but hasn’t done much else to confront the fast fashion brand.
n00rvana is currently in the process of relaunching her site, but check out her IG for updates @n00rvana.
Briana Shane Wilson isn’t surprised that Fashion Nova would allegedly rip-off her design, just disappointed. And a bit pressed. The founder of Matte Brand took to IG in March 2019 to point out that not only did Fashion Nova start selling a set that looks pretty much the same as one she offers through Matte, but that the quality ain’t sh*t. Where Briana’s set is moto pleather godliness, Fashion Nova changed the pants to a drawstring and the neck clasp to a zipper, making this one of the few designs they’ve allegedly copied that they’ve actually bothered to change at all. Shady AF.
Check out Briana's original designs on shopmatte.com.
Selangie Arlene is best known for her super sexy tinikini swimwear designs through the Sel Doval brand, but Fashion Nova still managed to (allegedly) rip-off a floor-length custom gown the designer showed off on Instagram. Sel tweeted that she was in correspondence with Fashion Nova, with her contact reassuring her that “management and [her] are speaking to our buyers right now,” but the dress is still on Fashion Nova’s website seven months later. This isn’t the last time Selangie had to deal with fast-fashion jacking her style — she said (again via Twitter) that Oh Polly ripped off her signature micro-bikini in April 2019.
Check out Selangie’s designs on sel-doval.com.
Fashion NovaRiot Society
Los Angeles-based retailer Riot Society tried to play nice by sending the fast fashion giant a cease-and-desist letter after noticing that Fashion Nova’s “Always Love” designs were nearly identical to Riot Society’s “Panda Rose” graphics, but when Fashion Nova ignored their initial complaint, Riot Society filed a lawsuit against Fashion Nova. The suit seeks $150,000 per copyright infringement plus profits made from Fashion Nova’s use of their designs. There hasn’t been a public update on the suit since it was filed in December 2018, and the offending hoodie is still for sale on Fashion Nova’s website, so we’re assuming it didn’t go too well.
Buy the original design for $30.00 on Riot Society.
Instagram/@fashionnova via Paper Magazine
As Kim has made wildly apparent after her Theirry Mulger dress was cloned, she is not and has never been a Fashion Nova collaborator. With that in mind, this dress from the Birthday Behavior line in August 2018 (which, full disclosure, I totally own) was probably an unauthorized replication of Kimberly’s custom Yeezy fit. Fashion Nova actually created a whole line of outfits inspired by what the Kardashian-Jenners wore to Kylie Jenner’s 21st birthday bash but because of Kylie’s longstanding partnership with the company, we assumed at the time that everything was kosher. The line also included Kylie’s sequined romper and her tie-front satin dress from the evening’s festivities.
We can’t find the dress in question on Fashion Nova’s website, so hopefully they got bullied into taking it down had the human decency to remove it from their site. Although, TBH, it’s so hard to search for things on Fashion Nova’s website that it could still be lurking somewhere in the deep depths of the internet, with us all none the wiser. Artist Scott Rohlfs sent Fashion Nova a cease and desist letter in August 2018 after they used his artwork on a dress without his permission or any compensation. The company said they would forward the complaint to their lawyers, but a month later, the dress was still for sale on Fashion Nova’s site and Scott’s calls were being ignored.
Check out Scott’s original artwork on scottrohlfs.com.
Fashjonn makes some hot, original designs for bad*ss women of color. Honestly, we’d be surprised if this thong camo set was the only design that Fashion Nova (allegedly) copied from this indie designer because his ‘fits are every Nova Babe’s dream. fashjonn put the fast fashion brand on blast in a now-deleted IG post where he said that “all they do is steal from black designers” and called them out for using low-quality materials, asking his followers to report their page and help support black designers.
Check out fashjonn's designs at www.fashjonn.com.
Instagram via Atlanta Black Star
Ashanti’s sister Kenashia Douglas launched a female streetwear called Dymes Only in 2014 that doesn’t look like it exists anymore after some light internet stalking, but Kenashia was still teasing new designs on her Instagram as recently as November 2017. A year later, she was posing about Fashion Nova x Cardi B trying to say her velvet two-piece design was their own. In this case, the fault might not solely lie with Fashion Nova — Cardi commented on the post responding that she’d be open about the fact that her line was inspired by her favorite designers, including Kenashia in the mix, according to Daily Voice. It looks like some communicative wires got crossed.
Fashion Nova has an extremely public partnership with Cardi B, but that doesn’t give them creative ownership of everything the rapper has ever worn. They might try to sneak around when they draw “inspiration” from black designers, but they were *very* upfront with this Christian Siriano recreation, including a side-by-side of their product and Cardi’s SNL appearance on their listing. Cosmo reported that Christian said the recreation was “not ideal” because it could affect his business but still flattering to the designer. That’s a pretty chill way to look at it, but Christian and Fashion Nova have very different consumer demographics, so he’s probably not as concerned as the up-and-coming designers that Fashion Nova has lurked on in the past.
Another ‘fit from Kylie’s birthday bash that mysteriously appeared on Fashion Nova’s site was Kourtney Kardashian’s purple La Perla dress. As this wasn’t included in Fashion Nova’s original birthday bash rollout, customers who aren’t Kardashian-Jenner superfans have no way of knowing that they’re buying a designer knock-off, since neither the reality star nor the original designer was mentioned in the item’s listing. The dress is nearly identical to the designer original, which can’t be purchased online (or with a freelancer’s budget). If I hadn’t spent the last hour researching Fashion Nova’s constant exploitation of black designers, it would honestly be in my shopping cart right now.