This summer, the streets are bound to overflow with 19-year-old mallrats in camo-print sports bras and matching sweats. But when your niece shows up to the family barbecue in deeply inappropriate, cleavage-baring duds, who will you have to thank for it? Thats the question Kardashian fans and trend watchers have been wondering ever since Kylie JennerKendall Jenners sister turned makeup mogulwas publicly dragged for ripping off a black female designer last week.
The kontroversy kicked off when the pint-size Kim Kardashian impersonator launched a new line of camo-print merchandise on her website, The Kylie Shop. For some context, Kylie Jenner isnt your average celebrity, which means that her online merch shop isnt just shilling half-off American Apparel T-shirts. Jenner is an unbelievably influential trendsetter whose makeup products, corset dresses, and bikinis regularly sell out within minutes. Any girl whos ever used the Snapchat puppy effect has probably purchased at least one Kylie lip kit, which makes her a highly successful businesswoman. But while Jenners entrepreneurial spirit and her eye for matte glosses that will really help you stand out during sorority rush are undeniable, her originality has long been up for debate. See, the Kardashians arent designers so much as they are curatorswhich becomes an issue when fans start to wonder if theyre creating trends or just co-opting them.
Designer Tizita Balemlay of PluggedNYC is putting her foot down with Jenners new collection, lest any well-meaning style blog declares that Kylie invented camo. PluggedNYC has been selling camo sets that look eerily similar to Jenners for a while now. Even more damning, Jenner actually has a relationship with Balemlaymeaning that she went a step further than just ripping off a random designer that she found on her Instagram explore page.
According to screenshots that Balemlay shared on social media, Jenner has been a longtime fan of her designs, which she has been spotted modeling on multiple occasions. Balemlay also alleges that Kylie was the first person to receive PluggedNYCs camo set when it originally launched around Memorial Day of this year. While the designer was initially so excited to work with Jenner and her stylist, the relationship naturally soured once Jenner started promoting her own line of derivative duds.
Balemlay fought back by posting an Instagram with side-by-side images of her own work and Kylies offerings, captioned, When you really Pablo… I am the influence *drops mic. Copy & Paste down to the shoes I used on my models