How Cardi B Makes Fashion Moves

Los Angeles, United States Two weeks before releasing her collection Fashion Nova, rapper Cardi B hilariously recounts her relationship with the Los Angeles-based fast fashion retailer, going back to 2014, before she had two singles on the Billboard’s Hot 100 and before that she amassed 34.6 million followers on Instagram.

“They are always loyal to me. It’s like friendship now,” she said of the Bodycon clothing line that produces 1,000 new items a week. “I’m also really proud of them too. A lot of their brand has been sold, and I’ve sold a lot at the same time and she’s like, “Wow, we did it!” We both did it at the same time.”

Her collection, which goes on sale on November 15, comes at a time when Fashion Nova’s popularity may rival that of the rapper. According to a Piper Jaffray survey last week, Fashion Nova ranked as the sixth most popular e-commerce site among high-income teens, surpassing brands including Forever 21, Lululemon and Adidas.

Since launching as an e-commerce site in 2013, Fashion Nova has managed to harness the kind of buzz-false hype in a bottle, fueled primarily by a network of micro-influencers who post pictures of themselves wearing curve-hugging outfits. Instagram. This, along with the constant influx of new product that Fashion Nova CEO Richard Sajian has called “super-fast fashion,” has propelled the company to the higher level of online retail.

But the emergence and success attracted competitors, who took a page from the Fashion Nova guide, as well as complaints from customers about fit and quality. As the market becomes more saturated, the brand is looking to prove that it can do more than just produce an endless series of disposable dresses, pants, and tops – that can easily be copied.

Enter Cardi B. Right, the rapper is outspoken about her relationship with the brand (she previously stated that she receives $20,000 a month to wear the label and promote it on social media) because it’s plastic surgery and her personal life. But although she was an early fan of Fashion Nova, she’s recently worn the costumes of Moschino, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, and Alexander Wang at events ranging from the Grammys to the Met Ball and New York Fashion Week. She follows fellow R&B stars like Rihanna and Beyoncé who have successfully broken into fashion, expanding their brand reach and influence in lingerie and streetwear lines, respectively.

I want to make these women look super happy – so radiant, sexy, company and likable. I want them to look like they’re wearing Gucci and Prada.

There’s no doubt that the impressive lineup of designers demanding Cardi B’s wear has only bolstered the Fashion Nova brand, which has continued to wear it with the same frequency as it wears high-end items. The Cardi B collection, Fashion Nova’s first popular collaboration, comes at a time when there is a perfect storm of popularity and a growing appetite for authenticity and inclusion among consumers.

The line will consist of 80 looks ranging from beginners to curves, with an average price of $40, including suits, blouses, dresses, outerwear, jeans, knitwear, and accessories. When designing the collection, Cardi B said her goal was to create clothing that would blur the lines between expensive and inexpensive, with an emphasis on fabric quality and fit.

“Every little detail is important to me,” Cardi B said. “I want to make these women look so happy – so radiant, so sexy, so engaged.” I want them to look like they’re wearing Gucci and Prada, but they’re not, they’re wearing my line.”

The pre-launch promotion stays true to Fashion Nova’s roots – relying on influencers to spread the word – but on a vastly inflated stage. Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, has been teasing her upcoming collaboration with Fashion Nova on social media for months in much the same way the brand posts on Instagram, whether she’s wearing it from head to toe or paired with Christian. Louboutin boots and Balenciaga bag.

Fashion Nova will be holding a launch event in Los Angeles starting November 14th at 8pm, featuring musical performances and more excitement for the collection launch that takes place at midnight. The event will be broadcast live for audiences anywhere to watch, but the brand also has plans for an online “Party with Cardi” campaign in which 10 customers will be airlifted to attend the event. Shoppers will be able to purchase in real time when the collection is published at midnight on November 15.

Saghian said in an email. “This will really resonate with a broad base of consumers who want basically everything; it doesn’t have to be one way or the other anymore.”

Cardi B had specific ideas for how you’d want her trench coats to fit into the collection. She’s been seen wearing her fair share of the element, including a dark green Drome leather jacket at Jimmy Kimmel Live last month and a black Alexander Wang jacket at New York Fashion Week in February.

“Sometimes when I put on a coat, it feels like it looks a little weird where you tie it,” she said. “It looks a little loose on the top and then looks a little flat on the bottom. I don’t like it specifically, so I made sure the sewing was just right for it.”

She said that matching jackets are “something I’m really proud of,” and she added, “I don’t want people buying jackets that can break while wearing them.”

Sometimes designers just don’t have what I’m looking for.

Fashion Nova originally gained an edge in the marketplace by making clothes that fit sensual body types – an aspect of the brand amplified by Cardi B’s Instagram tagline: “I could buy a designer but this fashionnova fit!”

She, like many women, said she has had a hard time finding clothes that fit her curves, which is one reason she still wears Fashion Nova even with designers competing to get her dressed.

“Sometimes designers just don’t have what I’m looking for,” she said. “Designers don’t make jeans that fit me. I have a big butt, and they don’t seem to fit me. The only jeans that fit me would be like Fashion Nova jeans. That’s how I balance it out. I don’t care if they cost $20 or $15. If they look good to me It looks good to me. I can design it.”

She said the biggest challenges she faced creating the line was making pieces that looked good on a range of body types. Her upcoming collection includes multiple styles of curved silhouettes, in part to address the many issues she’s had with denim in the past.

“What I don’t like about wearing jeans is when the butt is boxy,” she said. “And I don’t like when there’s a little space in the back, between your back, do you know what I’m talking about? This is the biggest pet that bothers me.”

Fashion Nova has a legendary fast production schedule—the company relies on a network of 1,000 factories to create endless variations on streetwear and designer-inspired looks, sometimes just days after wearing Kardashian or Hadid on the red carpet.

The clothes this network pumps out are of varying quality, and while customer complaints about an anonymous midi dress may go undetected, the stakes are even higher with Cardi B’s high-profile collection.

The positive side is that the company has the ability to rapidly increase production to match demand.

“We have no doubt that it will be sold out within minutes,” Saghian said. “We are ready to order and expect the line to be very profitable. We will be looking for more celebrity collaborations as well.”

And Fashion Nova could quickly produce a look inspired by Cardi B’s new lyrics, or an outfit she’d wear that went viral.

“The most important thing with Cardi is that you have a young woman who represents a market of young women that they are not normally marketed to. They see themselves in it and for that reason, they see themselves in it and for that reason,” said Kenny Mack, founder and creative director of Strategic Planning Agency Creative Contraband and former marketing director of Sean “Diddy” Combs. They are rooted in her.

“If in one of the songs she says, ‘I love Balenciagas, those are socks…’ Fashion Nova has the infrastructure to develop, design and sell in a fast way. It’s very transactional.”

Saghian said he is already looking for his next celebrity collaboration. Cardi B said she was bitten by a design flaw with plans to expand into new markets – even children’s clothing.

“I definitely want to branch out into shoes. I love shoes. I have a huge shoe fetish,” she said. “And I want to be able to design what I want my daughter to wear.”

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