Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Fashion Nova | Lefsetz Letter

You can’t read the story unless you’re a subscriber.

The best article I read on the plane out here was about Fashion Nova clothing, a brand built on Instagram. Cheap clothing with tons of varieties sold by models both known and unknown,

You want to be a Nova girl. Big or small. This is not the highfalutin’ fashion industry, not the one with runway shows, this is for real people, who buy and wear fashions, oftentimes inspired by the celebrities on Instagram, like Kylie Jenner or Cardi B.

Let me start all over again, this article was in the latest issue of “New York” magazine, the one with Elizabeth Warren on the cover. In case you haven’t noticed, periodicals have changed their formula, used to be that magazines subscriptions were cheap, supported by ads, the key was to drive circulation up, for a guaranteed readership. But then ads tanked and the economics no longer worked. Now per issue price can be close to ten bucks, and a subscription is fifty or more dollars, instead of 40% of that.

So most people stopped reading, they were satiated with surfing the web, or oldsters addicted to print stuck with the newspapers and…

It’s astounding what people don’t know.

Me too, I don’t know everything, no one can, but the key to understanding this world is to hoover up information, which is why by refusing to read his briefings the President is doing our country a disservice.

So I’d never heard of Fashion Nova, which is fine, because so many stories in the rags are publicity plants. Even in the “New York Times,” every Sunday they feature a story about a book or a potion with no track record that promptly goes into the dumper.

But that is not Fashion Nova.

The owner reacted to the marketplace.

He started off selling jeans, in one store, in the San Fernando Valley, at the Panorama Mall if you live close.

And at first it was high-waisted jeans, but he listened to what his customer base wanted.

This is the flaw the music business unveiled and still hasn’t owned. This is the birth of Napster. It was not about theft of music so much as overpriced CDs with only one good track. Hell, it’s been proven in this almost no piracy era that people still don’t want the album, even when they’re paying for it on Spotify, but the artists keep making them and the labels keep distributing them, EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE DON’T WANT THEM!

But it’s hard to change, right?


Second, Fashion Nova’s products are cheap. Its proprietor, Richard Saghian, knows he’s selling dope, it’s about getting people addicted, which is why when you talk about price points and protection you’ve missed the memo. In fashion and entertainment it’s all about heat, have a hot product and you can sell not only it, but…merch, fragrances, sponsorships… The track is the gateway drug, it’s what gets people hooked.

And there are a lot of products, which is why if you’re putting an album out every other year and touring it you’re delusional.

You put it out and see what works and then double-down. Fashion Nova offers a thousand new styles A WEEK! That’s right, put out a lot of music! And the products are cheap and not so well made. Today’s music is not made for tomorrow, just for today, when you ask if they’ll play the tracks of 2018 at weddings and bar mitzvahs twenty years from now, you’re missing the point.

And you’ve got to let everybody play.

That’s right, anybody can be a Fashion Nova model. You put up your look on Instagram and wait to get found by the company, to gain fame and discounts, this is reality television without the networks. There’s no lead time, you’re discovered and you’re featured, and you know it’s not forever, you just feel good for a moment or two and then you’re on to the next thing.

And you don’t have to be tall and thin. Fashion Nova sells skin-tight clothing for the curvy, and I don’t mean the mildly curvy, but what the charts say is obese. Because the overweight are people too, they’ve got to wear clothing too, they’ve got money to spend too.

But for far too long we’ve had an elite that believes it dictates. Primarily in news media. But in music media too. It’s been all about major labels and terrestrial radio, but that is changing, not that anybody wants you to know. An active user doesn’t wait for radio, by time it hits the airwaves they’re over it, you don’t want the casual fan, but the true one, that’s how you make your bucks.

And no one cares about your pedigree.

And sure, it’s driven by influencers, but they come and go and savvy brands remain.

We keep hearing how Facebook is in trouble, then you read about a brand that was built on the Facebook-owned social network Instagram. And for those lamenting the future, there’s no Fashion Nova without pics and video online. So you think you can stay with your old phone and slow speed but the truth is 5G is going to provide endless business opportunities, which entrepreneurs will take advantage of, not usual suspects.

This is the Clayton Christensen formula. You’re gonna be disrupted by someone doing a worse job at a cheaper price utilizing new technology, so you’re best off disrupting yourself. Amazon is killing physical retail. Fashion Nova is killing “aspirational” brands. Come on, who has the cash for the big brands, who wants to spend on the big brands when you can buy multiple items and look like a queen instantly!

And a king too, Fashion Nova is moving into men’s fashion.

And I wouldn’t have known all this if it weren’t for ponying up for “New York” magazine.

And “New York” lets you read so much for free, but not this.

And I’m sure there are people reading this slapping their foreheads and laughing at me, wondering how I could be so out of it.


But we all are.

But even more important than collecting information is seeing how it’s all put together.

New platforms engender new business opportunities, they create new stars.

And today anybody can be a star, it’s like the Me Decade reconstituted. You’re the principal in your own movie, which is not linear, but is paraded all over social networks. And just like real movies, there are only a few superstars, but the barrier to entry is nonexistent, you can play, you could possibly be a Nova Babe.

Don’t laugh, this is the story of tomorrow, the joke is on YOU!

Fashion Nova


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