Beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina just dished out a classy call-out of Fashion Nova on her YouTube channel. She alleged that the brand perpetuates colorism and sizeism via its Instagram page. According to Aina, she has been in a legal back-and-forth with the brand for a year due to her concerns that the online retailer promotes unrealistic and non-inclusive beauty standards that do not align with her personal values and platform.
Although Aina never utters the words "Fashion Nova" directly, she drops a plethora of obvious hints in her video that lead directly to the brand, including the use of a model wearing Fashion Nova in the video thumbnail.
This video is also more than just Aina sharing a personal opinion. The YouTuber backs up her allegations with personal experiences and receipts that call the brand's marketing and overall business strategies into question.
Gang's all here? Teacups in hand? Settle in babes. Aunt Jackie is taking us all for a spin.
As most Jackie Aina followers know, she has partnered with Fashion Nova for her YouTube and Instagram platforms.
This is her first Fashion Nova video haul, published one year ago. Aina went on to film three more direct Fashion Nova-sponsored YouTube videos under her contract with the brand.
She is also open about having been a casual shopper of Fashion Nova for at least "two years" before she decided to promote its clothing.
Aina even stated that Fashion Nova was easy to work with business-wise but she still had to stop partnering with the brand after they could not come to an agreement on inclusion matters.
Aina also pointed out that Fashion Nova could be contributing to the culture's obsession with getting body augmentations in an unhealthy way.
"The black market for plastic surgery is also still very rampant," she explained. "A lot of people are getting stuff done to say that they got it done but at the hands of someone who is not even licensed [and] not even a real doctor. They're getting all this crazy stuff done because they're trying to keep up with the standard that's constantly on their Explore page by way of some of these brands."
To Jackie Aina's point, several women have been maimed or have died due to botched cosmetic procedures. Even rapper Cardi B has also been open about having her body done via illegal (translation: unhealthy and unlicensed) butt shots although she has never spoken about any health complications.
Jackie Aina's other issue with Fashion Nova is that it blatantly promotes colorism on its Instagram page.
"Every time I go on this page, the majority of [the] women I see are either light-skinned black women, biracial women, or they're racially ambiguous," Aina said. "They could be one thing [or] they could be something else. You don't really know. Do I have a problem with them being represented in beauty or fashion? I don't. But when that's the only thing I see on my page..."
This isn't Jackie Aina's first time calling out a brand for colorism on her YouTube channel. She famously questioned Huda Beauty's Instagram practices and whether or not the beauty brand pandered to black women when it launched its deep foundation shades.
Jackie Aina highlighted how strange it is that Fashion Nova puts so much effort into marketing to black women without even representing us in different skin tones on its social media.
"Why is it that as much as this brand posts on platforms like The Shade Room... Who is the average demographic of The Shade Room? Let's just think about that for a second, please," Aina said. "You clearly know who your audience is because you're advertising to them. You're spending lots of money to advertise to your demographic but I don't see them properly represented on your page... I have a big problem with that."
In case Jackie Aina lost you, The Shade Room is a blog platform that covers primarily black celebrities and is largely followed by black people.
Yes, white people follow and engage The Shade Room platforms. Some white celebrities are even covered by the site but it is a black blog. That's just a fact. Anyone marketing to The Shade Room's followers is marketing directly to black people and they are well aware of it.
Beyond The Shade Room though, Fashion Nova takes great efforts to market to black people even with the influencers it selects. Yes, they pay the Kardashians but Fashion Nova also purposefully puts its clothes on a ton of black celebrities and influencers who have platforms ranging from huge to very small. Like The Shade Room placement and all marketing strategies, this is all purposeful.
Aina also revealed that Fashion Nova had a very strange response to another influencer of color who asked the brand directly about the blatant colorism on its Instagram back in 2015.
Aina did not publicize the influencer's name but she did provide screenshots of the email exchange between Fashion Nova and the black influencer who the brand sought a partnership with.
"Well, I'm not sure how to go about this but I was wondering how come the [redacted] Instagram page hardly posts women of color? Well, how come it's not that often? It's just something I noticed and it bothered me a little because I am a woman of color myself so if I'm representing a brand I would like it if they represented more people like me if that makes sense," the influencer wrote.
"I hope you take no offense to this because it's not my intention to offend anyone. It's just something I've become aware of so I thought I'd ask about it."
The Fashion Nova representative seemed to have no idea what the influencer was talking about.
"No worries. So sorry if you think that we intentionally don't post women of color. I went through our IG and was a little confused because all I see are women of different ethnicity [sic]," the brand wrote back.
"All our models are either Hispanic or African American (yes, we do have white models as well). As a matter of fact, here are the links to the three models we have booked this week (all women of color)."
Furthermore, this is what Fashion Nova's Instagram page looks like right now.
These are two screenshots of the last few Fashion Nova Instagram posts from this Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The majority of these models clearly have light to medium skin tones. Not one of them has a deep complexion.
You'll also find a similar theme on the actual Fashion Nova website although I do notice that the brand has begun featuring a model with a deeper skin tone more prominently.
The brand was called out privately by an influencer about not featuring enough women of color on its Instagram page almost four years ago and this is how its most recent posts look.
Ultimately, Fashion Nova asked the influencer to return the clothes they sent her if she was unhappy with who the brand features on Instagram.
It's terrible etiquette to send out clothes in exchange for press or exposure and then ask that they are returned. It also speaks volumes that the brand would rather just stop working with an influencer who is unhappy with their discriminatory practices than to just stop discriminating and include more black women of other skin tones on its social media platforms.
Jackie Aina made a similar inquiry to Fashion Nova around one year ago and received an even stranger reaction.
“I did raise the concern. I typically don’t communicate with brands directly. I have a manager and an agent. I basically told them, ‘I don’t feel comfortable working with this brand because I’m not happy with how they represent their page,' " she stated.
When her agent and/or manager communicated the concern to Fashion Nova, the brand allegedly offered Aina more money.
Imagine being a brand that cares so little about actual black people that when one of your black moneymakers says you're not including enough black or curvy people on your Instagram, you try to throw dollars at her in attempts to get her black self to market more clothes to her followers — many of which are black and curvy.
Here's an exclusive image of Aina parting ways with Fashion Nova after the disrespect.
In the end, Jackie Aina paid to get out of her contract with the brand.
In this light, Fashion Nova doesn't look any better than Gucci and its blackface sweater. The fast-fashion retailer actually looks even worse since the brand has been made aware of its exclusionary practices and hasn't taken many steps to change it over the last few years.
Watch the entire Jackie Aina video about Fashion Nova right here.
The reaction that Fashion Nova allegedly has when influencers call it out for colorism and exclusion reflects a brand that does not genuinely respect black women but instead, values our dollars and social media influence.