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Nasty Gal Just Filed for Bankruptcy. How Did It Get Here?

A look back at the edgy retailer’s rise and missteps.

Sophia Amoruso wears a black long-sleeved shirt (and her signature inky micro-bangs) while posing at a AOL event.
Sophia Amoruso at an event in October. Photo: Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

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Just a few years ago, Nasty Gal was one of the hottest success stories in the retail world. Founder Sophia Amoruso, who branded herself as an unconventional businesswoman with choppy micro-bangs and a badass attitude, was heralded for having an eye for what young women wanted and a smart approach to e-commerce.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

For all the champagne popped along the way, Nasty Gal has seen its share of bad press, including legal missteps, layoffs, and a reportedly high churn rate among executives. Its fiery rise seemed to cool from a consumer standpoint, too.

Writing for Racked in April 2015, Lauren Sherman expressed concern that the company might not have what it takes to stay relevant with the young folk for more than a few years; trend-focused retailers with distinct identities face a tough road to begin with, and the speed of the Internet has shrunk their lifespans even further.

Bankruptcy sounds dire, but this doesn’t mean that Nasty Gal is going under for good. By filing for Chapter 11 protection, the brand now has a chance to restructure and get its business back in order.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at Nasty Gal’s road to… well, either recovery or ruin.