Back in 2012, three 20-something Valley girls turned their online shopping addiction into the Instagram famous fashion empire known as Naked Wardrobe, worn today by celebs and non-celebs alike. Although that was only five years ago, in the world of fast fashion, things move, well, fast. But don’t be so quick to place these ladies in the fast fashion box because they’re breaking all the rules. For starters, they consider their brand more high-end because of the quality of their pieces and, regardless of how cheesy it sounds, insist they are not in the business of fashion just to make a sale, but to make a difference.
BET.com got the opportunity to speak with sisters and founders of Naked Wardrobe Shideh Kaviani, 29, Shida Kaviani, 33, and Shirin Kaviani, 35. The brand that’s blowing on social media boasts super-affordable, curve-hugging bodysuits, sexy dresses and more — and apparently is Jennifer Lopez’s new red carpet steez. So what gives? The Kavianis walk us through how their $29.99 dresses wound up in the closets of the Kardashians while dropping their keys to success.
“Our product does the talking for us. We’re very much aware of the competition. We’ve even seen some of our competitors who inspired us so to speak, go out of business. But for us, it’s all about quality and not quantity and we’ve used that to sustain our brand. Some people are out there trying to gain as many followers as they can, put the garments as low as possible or push a million products. We don’t want to do that. We want to set ourselves apart. We really think of ourselves — although we’re in the budget market — as more high-end because of how much we put into our garments. They’re not something you can just pick up downtown. They’re something that we produce, develop and manufacture ourselves,” explains the brand's president, Shideh.
“I’m sure that some of our competitors give merchandise to celebrities as well. But you really don’t see them wearing it, and if you do see them post about it, you always see ‘#AD.’ And you know they got paid for that post.”
In case you were wondering, Naked Wardrobe does not, we repeat DOES NOT, pay celebrities to wear their clothes. Unlike other online shops like Fashion Nova that rely on celebrity Instagram posts to push their product, Naked Wardrobe has “not paid a dollar to one celebrity.” According to the Kavianis, the celebrity obsession comes from their sincere love of the brand.
“It’s really a matter of them liking the product and wearing it, and if the paparazzi snaps a photo of them, then that’s our shot. I think Khloe [Kardashian] has actually posted an article on her blog in the past saying that [Naked Wardrobe] is my favorite budget brand, and I wear it almost every single day or throughout the week. And notice even Jennifer Lopez, this past month she’s been wearing Naked Wardrobe four out of seven days in the week. That’s something that we decided on. We didn’t want to do the paid advertising. We really wanted it to be natural and organic,” explains Shideh.
It was about three years ago when they first spotted Khloe rocking their clothes, and they all agree that was the moment that put them on the map. Their strategy was to rope in celebs directly and once they were hooked, their stylists would request more.
“It was kind of like a reverse from how it normally goes. Because typically a stylist will contact for their client. But celebrities started recognizing our brands, so we started building that relationship directly by sending clothes to their homes and their work place. And then they would start requesting that their stylist pull more stuff for them,” says vice president Shida.
Designer just isn’t relatable anymore. Shida and Shirin figured this out after online shopping drained their bank accounts. They looped in Shirin and, between their combined skills in fashion, public relations and IT/software, the sisters figured if they pedaled their own apparel, they could get first dibs. If this sounds all too easy, entrepreneurship is in their blood. They learned early on from their father, a business man, who took gains and losses with his different ventures in everything from pagers to cellphones. They were quick to realize the power of Instagram, but their secret to marketing budget-friendly fashion to the masses all while securing celebrity clientele is simple — quality over quantity.
Their entire business model almost seems like a page ripped straight out of Starting a Business for Dummies, but it's this basic foundation that keeps their basics selling out. Consumers are tired of being duped into paying insane prices for low-grade materials. The gag is, so are celebs. So create a product they absolutely love and someone whose shopping budget is not even one fourth of J.Lo’s (like myself) can afford to dress exactly like J.Lo.
“We use this fabric that we’ve dubbed the NW fabric. We use it for a wide range of our products. It’s these products that people really love because it’s double lined, super soft, luxurious fabric that holds you in all the right places. It doesn’t stretch out over time either, and it’s just awesome fabric whether you’re wearing it on its own or layering it. People have really taken to it and they feel really sexy in it,” says Shideh.
I can personally attest to the magic of NW fabric. As I sit here typing this in my NW Tank Dress, I’ve basically had a full work day with a two hour commute, attended a meet and greet and worked a video shoot. I’ll be logging off soon to hit a happy hour event in this same dress because it’s just that comfortable, sexy and, for lack of a better word, amazeballs. By the way, the dress is only $38 and I’m pretty sure I saw Khloe Kardashian wearing it last week. You're welcome ;-)