In the past, clothing brand Fashion Nova has come under fire for accusations of shady business practices. The brand has been accused countless times for not including dark-skinned models and customers when promoting their clothes on Instagram. The brand has also been accused of allegedly stealing designs from black-owned indie clothing companies. Recently, social media influencer Jackie Aina revealed that she stopped collaborating all together with Fashion Nova when the brand refused to include more dark-skinned people on its Instagram. When she complained about the practice, she was just offered more money for her services — no doubt a bribe for her silence.
Now, a dark-skinned Instagram model has come forward with more allegations of colorism against the clothing company.
Model Atim Ojera recently came forward with claims that she experienced tokenism after Aina brought to light Fashion Novas’ colorist practices. According to Ojera, the clothing brand promptly ended her contract when all the controversy over their Instagram posts died down.
It started when Aina expressed frustration with the brand over their colorism.
The influencer pointed out that Fashion Nova predominantly advertises to Black people and people of color, yet they do not reflect that same practice in the advertising of their clothing.
“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 explained in a YouTube video. “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 the page…”
That’s when Ojera contacted Aina to share that she has also experienced colorism from the clothing brand.
In the DM, Ojera shares her experience as a Fashion Nova model. What started as a new venture soon had her becoming suspicious about the brand’s diversity practices. Her DM reads:
“After a while, I noticed they would (only) post me. At first, I felt like I was representing for all Black women but then I realized out of the millions of Black women promoting for them, it shouldn’t just be me because there are way more of us who have even better style than I do.”
At first, the model was optimistic about her opportunities with the fashion brand.
“They contacted me asking if I wanted to become an official model for them for their website/commercials they had. I was honestly so excited at the time because I was oblivious and genuinely thought they wanted me to be their sole representation.”
However, the good feelings didn’t last long for the model.
“When all of the comments about (Aina’s) video had gone down a bit, they contacted me basically saying they don’t need me anymore because ‘they put their model search on halt.'”
Ojera soon learned that she was not only being used, she was also being underpaid for her efforts.
“I soon learned they were paying me way less than other influencers who were working with them. I really felt cheated and unfortunately still have a contract with them so I have to finish my last posts otherwise I’ll have to pay them back the money they sent me.”
This is a gross situation but it is unfortunately not uncommon. When Aina left Fashion Nova as a brand promoter, she had to pay her way out of her influencer contract just as Ojera is being forced to consider.
The model has vowed to never work with Fashion Nova again once her responsibilities are finally met.
“After this, I will never work with them again after how they’ve treated myself and many other smaller black influencers who are worth just as much if not more than other influencers. I really do hope I can get out of this contract with them ASAP so that I can move on to bigger and genuine brands. They never put (their model search) on halt, by the way. They hired more white/latino/racially ambiguous models and seeing that (genuinely) made me feel less than.”
Looking at Fashion Nova’s Insta feed, their promoted models and influencers are noticeably predominantly light-skinned.
Despite many sources calling out the fashion brand for their colorist Instagram practices, Fashion Nova hasn’t switched things up at all. It seems they only resort to posting dark-skinned influencers when they are called out for these practices — but it is clearly an insincere move. Once objectors move on, the brand goes back to purposely prioritizing light-skinned people in their social media posts. This is a classic example of tokenism and — with the help of outspoken influencers like Ojera and Aina — hopefully the brand will be exposed for what it really stands for.