Fashion Nova opened their first retail location over a decade ago, in 2006. Located in a mall in the greater Los Angeles area, the brand sold fast-fashion clubwear that did away with the stereotypes of designer fashion – and its emphasis on stick-shaped bodies – in order to emphasize curves at an extraordinarily affordable price point, selling the majority of its items for between $20 and $30.

However, unless you’re someone who does a lot of shopping for clubwear, you likely didn’t hear about Fashion Nova until 2017, when they became one of the 5 most searched fashion brands online, or until 2018, when they achieved the coveted position of being the most searched for fashion company on the internet.

If you happen to be wondering, “How did a business with one retail location in one mall become an online fashion behemoth doing better sales than their competitors with a brick and mortar presence all over the world?” you’re not alone – and there are very real answers to this question.

By the early 2010s, there was a massive market for highly affordable clubwear – dresses, body suits, jeans tailored for women who were hourglass-shaped, rather than twiglike – and a rapidly emerging online platform, Instagram, to help reach them. When Fashion Nova finally launched their presence on the photo sharing network, they sold out of their entire inventory in 2 days, and have achieved monumental growth since then.

They produce as many as 900 new items every week to help their core audience of curvy women generate an endless array of looks, giving their customers peace of mind knowing that they’re highly unlikely to show up to the club, the concert, or the party in the exact same outfit as someone else. Each day, they post as many as 30 photos or videos, yet they rarely lose followers. Their customers see these posts as an opportunity to discover products before they’re gone, reaffirm their body image, and participate in a dialogue and positive customer relationship.

For Fashion Nova, Instagram is a 24/7 runway show – and one that gives people a glimpse of clothes that they can have on their own bodies in a matter of days – not weeks or months – at a price they can actually afford.

But what, exactly, is a runway show without models? Fashion Nova has brilliantly partnered with influencers to generate sales, forge authentic relationships with fans, and boost the brand to an extraordinary degree. Shortly after launching the brand’s online presence, they began to forge relationships with major influencers, such as Blac Chyna, Christina Milian, Kylie Jenner, and Kris Jenner to supercharge their sales, with one post from Kylie having the power to create tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for the company.

Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian haven’t been paid by the brand, but when they’ve worn the clothes, people have paid attention, which has in turn brought big things for the company as well.

However, it isn’t just mega-celebs who make Fashion Nova turn. It’s also the company’s army of Nova Babes – women who show off their clothes and celebrate the brand, some of whom go on to become major stars. The brand has worked with influencers of all sizes to naturally and organically spread its reach across Instagram and the internet at large, and occasionally seen its micro-influencers go on to become powerhouses with the ability to redefine culture.

For example, the brand partnered very early on with rapper Cardi B. Fresh off of her very early viral success on Vine and not yet even on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: New York, Fashion Nova provided Cardi with clothes – something many designers weren’t willing to do, even as of 2018 – payment for posts, and eventually her very own collaborative line with the brand by the time she had become a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning rapper and megastar in her own right.

By supporting Cardi early on, they successfully immortalized themselves. In the song “She Bad,” Cardi raps, “I could buy designer but this Fashion Nova fit.” Fashion Nova returned the favor by giving her the opportunity to create (to date) two seasons of clothing. Her first launch sold out in 24 hours, and her second was all but sold out within 48 despite the company having produced five times as much inventory in anticipation of massive demand.

Fashion Nova’s influencer strategy paid off like few social media plans do. They cemented the brand as an authority in their space, gave them an endless quantity of content to work with, and created an opportunity like no other to dominate the world of highly affordable, curvy clubwear for celebrities, artists, club kids, and ordinary people alike. To call them an Instagram success story would be an understatement – to say they redefined what online clothing sales looks like would simply be an honest assessment of their monumental achievement.