Something Navy 2.0 has arrived. Last August, news surfaced that influencer Arielle Charnas would launch her own lifestyle brand — separate from her successful Nordstrom collaboration that would end the following November.
Now the day has come.
Today, Charnas’ first independent Something Navy collection went live on her revamped site, which has transformed from a blog to a direct-to-consumer destination, featuring her own line as well as shoppable products from other brands she loves. The first drop includes 11 styles, from blouses and dresses to denim and jumpsuits, retailing from $65 to $250.
“Something Navy is a place to start conversations, inspire confidence, and celebrate the diversity of our community, so I just want to take a minute to thank you for being here and being part of the SN story,” Charnas posted on her site. “I designed every piece in the new collection with my followers in mind, and I curated the new site and our SN marketplace items just for you”
With help from interim CEO Matt Scanlan, who is also the co-founder and chief executive of the cashmere brand Naadam, Charnas plans to work on on building out Something Navy.
Last year, the company received a $10 million investment, funded in part by Silas Chou and his Vanterra Capital fund, as well as Harry’s and Warby Parker backed Box Group, M3 Ventures, Silas Capital, Third Kind Ventures and Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss — bringing Charnas’ brand valuation to close to $45 million.
According to the brand, this is the first of many launches, and the goal is to focus on apparel followed by accessories, home decor, childrenswear and beauty over the next few years. While founder and creative director Charnas is banking on direct-to-consumer at the moment, brick-and-mortar is also on the agenda with her New York flagship expected to open in the fall.
Something Navy 2.0 comes a few months after its initial March launch date, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The fashion industry has been particularly hard hit amid the global health crisis with government-mandated store closures leading to permanent shutterings for some as well as furloughs, layoffs and and bankruptcies. In addition, the influencer side of the business has also shouldered blow-back as aspirational posts were sometimes viewed as tone-deaf. Meanwhile, several public figures who showcased their access to, among other things, coronavirus testing and other forms of privilege in the early days of the pandemic, drew the ire of social media users.
It was a saga that Charnas would also find herself swept up in. After testing positive for the coronavirus and fleeing New York City in March, she faced major backlash for how she handled being diagnosed in the public eye. Social media erupted in outrage, resulting significant impact on her audience engagement and following. It also prompted multiple apologies from Charnas — one which came after going dark on Instagram for almost a month. (Her personal Instagram page is now private.)
“Thank you for letting me take time to reflect and be with my family,” Charnas posted, with a photo of herself and her children at the end April to her 1.3 million followers. “It has opened my eyes in so many ways both personally and professionally and it is this growth that I am extremely grateful for. Can’t wait to reconnect with you all.”
With months passing since the controversy unfolded, it seems like its business as usual at Something Navy, however, Charnas has grown more focused on creating a platform that is diverse and socially responsible. Right now, shoppers can find articles on her site that promotes Black-owned businesses to support. In addition, 10% of proceeds from today’s launch will be donated to the Loveland Foundation, which works to bring opportunities and healing to communities of color and especially to Black women and girls.
Charnas, who launched Something Navy as a fashion blog in 2009, has built a social media fan base that’s fiercely loyal and engaged. “What sets me apart is that a lot of these girls focus on beautiful images, the traveling, the extravagant trips, whereas I’m just at home hanging out in my apartment. It’s not that it’s more real; it’s just a different lifestyle,” she told FN in a May 2019 cover story. “It’s about bringing something different to the table,” she said on what it takes to stand out. “I tell girls [who want to be influencers] to be so raw. Talk about personal things, life, things that you’re feeling, because there are so many people out there that can connect with that. People are attracted to realness.”