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Why Something Navy’s Nordstrom Collection And Launch Was A Disaster

On Monday, Arielle (née Nachmani) Charnas, proprietor of the pretty yet rather banal fashion blog, Something Navy, launched her collection, Treasure Bound x Something Navy, at Nordstroms nationwide.

The collection, predictably, was as pretty and banal as one would expect: a pair of slouchy knee-high boots, lots of basic sweaters and a propensity for arm details, like bedskirt ruffles and nonfunctional strings. Indeed, it was so unoriginal as to be spectacularly characterless; as if someone had skimmed over the trends of the day, squeezing out their daring and innovative qualities until it became sterilized, monotone, prosaic.

But it does fit Charnas’ aesthetic: skinny, pretty girl who wears safe, if boring clothes. It’s an aesthetic that, despite her luxury apartment and enviable shoe closet, makes her relatable to the masses. And that combination of relatability and aspirational, is what makes her so supremely popular with fans (she has about a million followers on Instagram). Her style is so easy to attain because it can be found at all price points, from the upper echelons of Bergdorf Goodman to the bargain basement of Asos.

Much like the fast-fashion machine, that churns out trendy clothes like they’re going out of style, Charnas’ collection looks cheap. Like her shapeless, oversized sweater that clocks in at nearly $100 and only contains 10% cashmere. At that price, for just $20 more, you may as well go to H&M and buy their fully cashmere premium quality sweater.

It’s also eerily reminiscent of many styles currently in stock at commercial and fast-fashion stores. For example, the knotted belt in the collection is an exact copy of the (cheaper) knotted belt on sale at Loft. The lace-up top, which I assume is meant to convey an “edginess,” is essentially a copy of the dozens of similar items on the market, from Express to Asos (who of course copied the look from Alexander McQueen).

But these facts didn’t stop Something Navy fans — they came out to buy her collection in droves. Some obsessively refreshed the Nordstrom site; others converged on (select) Nordstrom locations nationwide. The collection was scheduled to drop 9 a.m EST on Monday, September 25.

But then it didn’t.

Incensed, many fans went over to Charnas’ Instagram account to complain. Charnas, who normally averages 200 comments per post (which is quite low for someone with a million followers), suddenly had over 1,000 comments on both posts that discussed the collection.

Nordstrom apologized in an Instagram post, writing: “[We] take full ownership for the delay of #TBxSomethingNavy.” The collection was finally available for purchase in the early afternoon EST.

But more problems ensued: customers who ordered items and received email confirmations, were then informed in a subsequent email that their order was cancelled. Some people complained that they ordered an item in one color, and were told via email that they would receive that item in a different color. Even some of the clothing descriptions were off, misspelling Charnas’ last name as “Chamas” (which sounds vaguely familiar to a certain terrorist organization) in a couple of instances.

Charnas then ran off to the Mark hotel, ostensibly for a little “staycation,” but it was apparent that she needed to escape the “haters” who had the audacity to be upset that the collection launch turned into such a disaster.

By the late afternoon on Tuesday, refreshed from her “much-needed” mini-vacation, Charnas posted an update about the failed launch. She wrote, “yesterday was so incredibly successful, I’m still in shock I cried to them on the phone. I can’t believe the incredible support and reaction I got from all of you.” She then said that Nordstrom would be restocking items, to the relief of her fevered, slobbering fans.

Michelle Honig is a writer at the Forward. Contact her at honig@forward.com. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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