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Is Kylie stealing the ideas of a young artist?

Khy, Kylie Jenner's new brand has been accused of plagiarism

Is Kylie stealing the ideas of a young artist? Khy, Kylie Jenner's new brand has been accused of plagiarism

Here we go again. Kylie Jenner has just launched her fashion brand Khy and she's already at the centre of the storm. The reason is @betsyjohnson_, a young designer who accused Kylie of stealing her ideas and taking too much "inspiration" from her brand without giving her due credit. The similarity between the creations is indeed there. But are a few similarities enough to cry plagiarism? Where is the line between inspiration and appropriation of someone else's work? Let's take a step back. Let's sum up everything we know about Kylie's new project and the accusations (new and old) of plagiarism.

What can we expect from Kylie Jenner's Khy?

"Meet khy." With these simple words and a picture of her sitting on a carpeted floor in a black faux leather trench coat and red Ferragamo pumps, Kylie Jenner launched her fashion brand Khy. Although she's co-headlined with Kris Jenner and Popular Culture's Jens and Emma Grede, it's all about Kyle - from the name, which is a mix of "Ky"," Jenner's nickname, and the "H", which symbolises "destiny, luck and spirituality"," to the concept, which is based on her personal wardrobe and changing moods. The new project features essential garments and statement pieces that you can invest in to give your wardrobe a new twist. All are available in sizes XXS to 4X and priced under US$200.

The first collection will be released on 1 November

Khy will be "collaborating with designers, iconic brands and influential cultural figures". Kicking off with a partnership with Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl, the designer duo behind Namilia, a gender-neutral brand from Berlin known for its dark and provocative style and loved by celebrities such as Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and members of BLACKPINK. The first collection, which will be available on from 1 November, consists of 12 pieces including trousers, coats, tops and baselayers in faux leather, nylon and spandex. In the words of the WSJ, the result is "the wardrobe of a biker during the apocalypse who happens to have Internet access and a well-toned Pilates body".

Kylie has big plans for Khy

According to the press release, Khy is an ambitious project, "Khy is a tribute to the limitless possibilities of fashion. We are breaking boundaries and redefining what it means to be a designer brand with creativity and quality at a better price. I wanted to make Khy a platform where our customers can experience fashion with new designers and brands at an affordable price." Kylie wants the brand to be inclusive, in terms of sizes and prices, cool, but also to become a kind of launch platform through which emerging brands gain visibility, which sounds strange given the plagiarism allegations.

Fan reaction and plagiarism allegations

As soon as Jenner tagged Khy's official account in her Instagram post, which attracted tens of thousands of followers in less than 24 hours, curiosity about the new project skyrocketed. But with the hype came criticism and accusations of plagiarism. Many referred to the brand's seemingly low price (the first collection is expected to be under 200 US dollars), while others claimed that the star lacked inspiration for his designs, as they were too similar to the offerings of rival brands such as The Row. A third group even speculated that the lack of originality was due to Kylie's attempt to outdo Sofia Richie in releasing her fashion line. The harshest criticism came from Betsy Johnson, a young designer of the Products by Betsy Johnson brand, who accused the Kylie Cosmetics founder of stealing her ideas without giving her due credit, pointing out the similarities between her and Kylie's creations.

Kylie and the blame on young designers

Betsy Johnson is not the first to accuse Kylie of appropriating the work of others without their consent. Over the years, several designers and artists have reported that their creations were unspoken or overtly "inspired" by the celebrity. For example, when Jenner launched her viral lip kit, the logo was found to bear an undeniable resemblance to the work of make-up artist Vlada Haggerty. Kylie avoided litigation with a minor change. Names that Kylie and her brands have allegedly "unauthorisedly" copied from include Anastasia Beverly Hills, Trixie Mattel and British artist Sarah Pope. Not even her (former?) best friend, Madison Beer, was given proper credit. A few years ago, she was furious about a purple eyeshadow palette that was supposed to be released as a collaboration, but then only came out under the Kylie Cosmetics name.

@theofficialangelt Kylie Jenner is Being Called Out Over Her New Brand KHY by Betsy Johnson #kyliejenner #khy #khybykyliejenner #theofficialangelt original sound - angel t

The problem of plagiarism in fashion


For Kylie, being accused of plagiarism has almost become a habit. And for many other brands, it is too. Social media lends itself perfectly to call-out culture. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not. Remember when Jean-Paul Gaultier and his modern version of the trompe l'oeil dress co-signed by Lotta Volkova were accused of copying a contemporary Spanish designer named Sergio Castaño Peña? In this case, those pointing the finger at the Maison sinned out of ignorance, because the dress in question was an archival piece designed by Gaultier in 1984. This small example shows how easy it is to point out similarities and the appropriation of ideas, but the episodes are too numerous to count and are part of the nature of the fashion industry. It is difficult to draw the line between homage, inspiration and plagiarism, but it is undeniable that the phenomenon exists and that lesser-known artists are often the victims. The problem is, how can these small businesses defend themselves when the evidence of plagiarism is too real and obvious to ignore? Sometimes it is enough to give them the credit they deserve - with a mention, a thank you or some kind of commercial agreement. So why not do it, especially if, as in Kylie Jenner's case, you can afford it?