Steph Barnes
June 11, 2017 12:41 pm
Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

This week, the Kylie Shop (kyliejennershop.com) got a few new items when the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan launched her camouflage collection. The collection includes hats, crop tops, tees, hoodies, and even lighters in various camo shades. But it was Kylie Jenner’s new camo bikini designs that stirred some controversy online.

Shortly after the Kylie Shop announced the release of the new bikinis, Jenner was called out for reportedly copying black-owned, NYC-based indie brand PluggedNYC.

Now, it would be almost impossible for one person to exclusively claim or be completely credited for creating camo-print fashion (except, you know, the military). But many online have pointed out that the Kylie Shop bikinis bear a striking resemblance to those recently released by PluggedNYC.

And that speaks to the larger issue of black-owned businesses (mostly women-owned) being ripped off. Jeweler Rachel Stewart, for example, who has designed pieces for Beyoncé’s band, The Sugar Mamas, had her livelihood threatened in 2015 after copycat retailers discovered her designs and began selling knockoffs online.

But we’ll let you decide about the bikinis. This is Kylie’s design:

And this is the design from PluggedNYC, a company founded by Tizita Balemlay.

Unfortunately for Kylie fans, there’s no way you can deny that the designs are SUPER similar.

And because this is such a big issue in the fashion industry, people aren’t letting it go unnoticed. Some are claiming the designs were directly stolen from PluggedNYC — a claim that’s complicated by the fact that Jenner has reportedly purchased clothing from PluggedNYC in the past.

A user on Twitter shared an email thread between a Kylie staffer and Balemlay re: purchases.

Balemlay then took to Instagram to post a collage that features Jenner wearing camo clothes from the new Kylie Shop collection next to Plugged NYC designs, pointing out the similarities between them. “When you really Pablo…I am the influence,” she captioned the image. “Copy & Paste down to the shoes I used on my models.”

It should be noted that PluggedNYC only released its camouflage bikini designs two weeks ago, so we don’t know if Kylie was even aware of the similarities while creating her own collection. We definitely understand the outrage and concerns surrounding the use of other artists’ work without proper credit or permission, though, especially since this isn’t the first time Jenner has been accused of ripping off preexisting designs.

Back in January, Jenner reportedly avoided a potential copyright infringement lawsuit by coming to an undisclosed agreement with makeup artist Vlada Haggerty regarding a dripping lips image used in Jenner’s Lip Kit campaign. Haggerty had shared a strikingly similar on Instagram long before Kylie used the dripping lips on her packaging, and Haggerty was quick to note the similarities.

We hope PluggedNYC and the Kylie Shop can work this out, and that Balemlay’s business sees a big rise in sales (PluggedNYC is having a 35% off sale right now with code PLUGGEDARMY — get shopping!).

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