Sorry Kim Kardashian, But Cornrows Aren’t “Bo Derek Braids”
We don’t think anyone would have guessed how obsessed everyone would be with Keeping up with the Kardashians (both the show, and, well, in life) when it first aired 10 years ago. But to be honest, there could be a whole show on keeping up with their kontroversies, because, let’s face it, the first family of reality TV seems to always find itself in the middle of it.
One controversy in particular that plagues the Kardashian-Jenner siblings time and time again? Accusations of kopying. In some cases, Sure the Kardashian klan has been wildly successful in its respective business ventures (especially Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian with their cosmetics lines), but many believe the family’s ideas aren’t exactly original or kreative resulting in lawsuits and kountless accusations of kultural appropriation. But in Kris Jenner (a.k.a. the family’s matriarch) world, is there such a thing as bad press? At the very least, it makes for good kontent for the show.
Below, a history on every single time the Kardashian-Jenners have been accused of stealing, copying, and culturally appropriating.
August 2011: Monica Botkier accuses Kim, Khloe and Kourtney for knocking off her handbag.
Remember when Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardshian had a fashion line for Sears? Well the sisters found themselves in hot water when handbag designer Monica Botkier accused them of copying her $600 “Clyde” bag (the Kardashian version cost a mere $94). Botkier filed a cease and desist letter against the retailer who promptly pulled the bag from its website. Oh, and Botkier also published a now-deleted blog post, “K is for Knockoff,” on her website, writing, “Ironically we just discovered below how our Botkier ‘Clyde’ was simply copied by Kardashian Kollection for Sears. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery but we don’t think so …” Yikes.
But Botkier’s bag wasn’t the only one the Kardashians knocked off — as Fashionista notes, the Kardashian handbag line resembled plenty of other iconic designer styles, including Balenciaga’s motorcycle bag and Chloe’s Marcie bag. Funnily enough, both Kim and Khloe told Popsugar Australia they were “heavily involved in the design process from start to finish,” with Khloe saying, “It’s our collection. Me, Kourtney and Kim design the entire thing ourselves.”
October 2011: Alexis Bittar accuses Kim of copying his jewelry for her line, Belle Noelle.
Kim Kardashian had been known to wear Alexis Bittar jewelry in the past, so things definitely got awkward when the jewelry designer accused the reality TV star for copying his designs for her line, Belle Noel. Bittar told The Post, “I saw that Kim’s pieces [for her Belle Noel jewelry line] were very similar to mine … The tricky thing is that we have sent pieces to Kim in the past to wear, so now I have told my staff we cannot send anything to her. She was definitely influenced by my designs without a doubt.”
However, Kim’s camp responded, “Kim is constantly inspired by her travels which she incorporates into her designs. She hasn’t ever noted any inspiration from Alexis Bittar’s pieces so any similarity in design is purely coincidental.”
October 2012: Kroma and Chroma both sue Kim, Khloe and Kourtney for stealing their name.
Before Kylie Lip Kits and Kim’s creme contour kit, there was Khroma Beauty, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney’s cosmetics line. One problem, though: there were already two cosmetics companies in existence with the same name: Kroma (a cosmetics line founded by makeup artist Lee Tillett in 2004) and Chroma (a high-end Beverly Hills makeup studio). Both Kroma and Chroma sued the Kardashians and Boldface (the company the sisters partnered with for their collection), which resulted in a rebrand to Kardashian Beauty and settlements after year of legal drama.
October 2015: Kendall and Kylie sued by Island Company for their PacSun collaboration.
Enough about the Kardashians (for now), let’s talk about the Jenners, shall we? In October 2015, the half-sisters of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney were sued by Island Company for their collaboration with PacSun. the reason? Island Company believed the Jenners and PacSun stole their phrase, “Quit your job. Buy a ticket. Get a tan. Fall in love. Never return,” using it on a T-shirt that read, “Run away. Fall in love. Never return.” The suit was settled in January 2015, with all existing shirts removed from PacSun stores.
November 2016: Makeup artist Vlada Haggerty threatens to take legal action against Kylie Jenner for copying her work.
The above Instagram says it all, but essentially, makeup artist Vlada Haggerty publicly blasted and then threatened to sue Kylie Jenner for copying her work. (Jenner’s version was used to promote her Kylie Cosmetics Holiday collection.) Kylie Cosmetics later edited the original Instagram caption to credit @VladaMUA before deleting the image altogether, while Kylie herself tried to do damage control by posting Vlada’s original photo to her own personal account, captioning the pic, “Check out this inspiring photograph from @juliakuzmenko and @vladamua! 💋💋💋.”
In the end, everything was resolved, with the photographer of the original image writing on Instagram, “We are very happy to share that the issue has been resolved 🔆 Thanks so much to every single one of you creative souls who supported us, we truly appreciate you ❤❤❤.”
April 2016: Kylie accused of copying New Zealand Instagrammer Brit Day’s Coachella look.
During Coachella 2016, fans accused Kylizzle of copying New Zealand Instagrammer Brit Day’s look. The two were photographed wearing identical Discount Universe bikinis and similar pink, braided hairstyles. Brit took to Instagram to post a side-by-side image of the matching looks, captioning the photo, “When the babe’n @kyliejenner steals your look!! 🙀👏🏼👏🏼😍.”
Discount Universe later confirmed to Refinery29 the whole thing was a “total coincidence.” They even took to their Instagram account to clear up the rumours, writing, “HEY GUYS!! Just to clear some stuff up… Kylie was one of the first people to get a hold of this set, no ones copying anyone and both of them looked FUCKING GREAT! Let’s stand by eachother… no more shaming.”
July 2016: Kylie accused of copying Shannon Harris’ eyeshadow palette.
After a successful Lip Kit launch, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan released an eyeshadow palette, aptly named “Kyshadow.” And while it was extremely successful (and sold out in one minute), many fans noticed it bore striking similarities to YouTuber Shannon Harris’ eyeshadow palette created in collaboration with BH Cosmetics. Twitterverse was quick to accuse Kylie of copying Shannon, though Harris herself made it clear there was no beef between the two makeup moguls.
June 2017: Destiney Bleu accuses Khloe for copying her bodysuit design.
— destiney bleu (@destineybleu) June 2, 2017
Going back to the Kardashians, Khloe found herself in the middle of a major controversy when designer Destiney Bleu accused Koko of copying her bodysuit designs for Kardashian’s Good American line. Bleu, whose DBleudazzled line has be worn by Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, alleges Kardashian purchased her designs and ordered custom pieces only to copy them for Good American. Following Bleu’s Twitter rant, Good American released a statement, saying, “Under no circumstances did Good American or Khloe Kardashian infringe on another brand’s intellectual property.” They added that they are “going through the proper legal channels to handle the situation.”
June 2017: PluggedNYC accuses Kylie of stealing camo designs — and has the receipts to prove it.
The black owned company that Kylie stole her camo clothes idea from is posting the receipts of when Kylie ordered from them and I'm LIVING pic.twitter.com/4r0xEwhw6o
— Kelsha. (@kelshareese) June 9, 2017
Around the same time that Khloe was dealing with the Destiney Bleu drama, Kylie had similar drama of her own, with Indie brand, PluggedNYC. The streetwear brand, whose famous fans include Rihanna, Keke Palmer and, well, Kylie, claimed Jenner called in custom PluggedNYC camo separates, only to rip them off for her Kylie Shop merch. Oh, and the brand didn’t hold back, with its CEO and creative director Tizita Balemlay posting an email exchange between the company and an employee of Jenner’s for the product request.
PluggedNYC didn’t take legal action, however, telling Fashionista, “At the end of [the] day money is power and the kardashains have both. It doesn’t matter if she wore my stuff previously then literally shoots same Concept with same shoes and all.. But at the end of day this will be all blow over tomorow her sales will continue, I can never have a billboard in the middle of the city. Money is power, they can take a whole movement just bc of prices. Money rules the world if you haven’t noticed.”
July 2017: Fans accuse Kylie of stealing Rihanna’s “whole identity”
The 1st pic is Kylie… the 2nd pic is Rihanna. This shit is getting out of hand. Kylie done stole Rihanna whole identity pic.twitter.com/PCwHlBumil
— 🍒 (@fentyy) July 11, 2017
Just because there isn’t enough Kylie Jenner drama in this post, let’s throw this one in here too. When Twitter user @fentyy posted a side-by-side pic of Kylie and Rih looking almost identical, writing, “The 1st pic is Kylie… the 2nd pic is Rihanna. This shit is getting out of hand. Kylie done stole Rihanna whole identity,” it caused a stir in the Twitterverse, with many people agreeing Jenner is essentially ripping off RiRi’s aesthetic. And they aren’t exactly wrong — earlier in 2017, L’Impasse Couture took legal action against The Dolls House Fashion for copying its fringe jumpsuit design, which was originally worn by Rihanna. Who wore The Dolls House Fashion Version? None other than Ms. Jenner, herself. INTERESTING.
July 2017: Kim faces lawsuit from Kirsten Kjaer Weis over KKW Beauty.
OK so remember that creme contour kit we talked about earlier? Well, that’s part of Kim Kardashian’s newest makeup line, called KKW Beauty. Unfortunately for Kim, there is already another famous KKW in the beauty world — makeup artist Kirsten Kjaer Weis and founder of eco-luxe cosmetics line, Kjaer Weis. According to TMZ, Kjaer Weis is suing Kardashian for what she claims are similarities between their logos and companies. Kirsten supposedly claims that KKW Beauty knowingly and deliberately copied her and is asking that KKW be prohibited from using those initial. She’s also seeking payment for profits and additional damages.
According to Glamour, Kim’s personal publicist says, “There is no merit to this lawsuit. Before launching, Kim received approval for KKW, KKW BEAUTY, and KKW FRAGRANCE from the U.S. Trademark Office. When Ms. Weiss [sic] asked for a re-examination, the Trademark Office again approved the brand names for Kim’s company a second time. Kim has done everything by the book.”
July 2017: Kylie sued by artist Sara Pope for copying ‘Lip Bite’ work.
— Keith Lee (@associatesmind) July 25, 2017
Kylie’s solo reality show, Life of Kylie, is set to air Aug. 6. But if you thought it would premiere sans drama, well, you were wrong. Jenner and Universal are now being sued by British artist Sara Pope for copying an image of bright neon lips. Kylie’s graphic is used in promotional imagery for Life of Kylie. Pope says she created her work of art in 2015.
December 2017: Kim Kardashian accused of copying designer pieces for children’s line
@kimkardashian ! Just when we thought you may have rocked the glitter better than Bey, you had to go and rip an extremely limited edition @commedesgarcons x Kosho & Co souvenir jacket for your @thekidssupply line AND that Tay Swift @vetements_official dress you knocked for North. Great message for the little ones! #kimdesgarcons #letreiknow #letdemnaknow #kimkardashian #thekidssupply #souvenirjacket #sukajan #vetements #commedesgarcons #demnagvasalia #reikawakubo #streetwear #copyat #knockoff #dietprada #sequins #sparkle #kkw
Remember that time Kim Kardashian and daughter, North West, had the most adorable mommy-and-me moment when they both donned silver Vetements dresses to a Yeezy concert? Well, Kardashian decided to recreate the dress for her children’s line, Kids Supply, and people are not happy about it. Fashion Instagram account @diet_prada has called out Kim for copying this design, along with a Commes des Garcons bomber jacket. (In the mother-of-two’s defense, however, Kardashian blatantly called the silver sequinned dress “The Demna Dress” after Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia and the bomber jacket “The Rei Bomber Ink Velvet” after CDG designer, Rei Kawakubo.)
“Just when we thought you may have rocked the glitter better than Bey, you had to go and rip an extremely limited edition @commedesgarcons x Kosho & Co souvenir jacket for your @thekidssupply line AND that Tay Swift @vetements_official dress you knocked for North,” reads the post which shows side-by-sides of the originals and the “copies.”
Kim’s team responded, telling Page Six the designs are an “homage” to the designers and the names of the pieces were intended as a nod to the designers who created them.
“The idea behind Kids Supply is to give people the opportunity to purchase things that would never be available for children otherwise. We decided to release the Demna dress after making one on our own for North because it got such a great reaction and an overflow of people wanting it for their own children. We named it the Demna dress to pay homage to him as it was one of Kim and North’s favorite mommy and me moments,” said a rep from Kids Supply.
They added, “The Rei jacket was a mixture of some our favorite souvenir jacket art. We have been collecting for years and have archive of them. We named it the Rei Jacket out of the utmost respect for her.”
Additionally, 100 per cent of the proceeds from both items will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
January 2018: Kim Kardashian sports “Bo Derek” braids
Kim’s latest blast of very aesthetic, very revealing Instagram selfies gave her followers something more to talk about than her rocking bod: the debut of blond, beaded cornrows. We’ve seen this hairstyle from the Kardashian klan before–and it’s certainly not the first time a white celebrity has appropriated a historically black hairstyle–but this time the controversy was taken one step further. In correspondence with her new ‘do, Kim captioned the photograph”BO WEST,” crediting Bo Derek’s braids in the 1980s rom-com, 10, as her inspiration.
The problem here isn’t just that Kim appropriated a black hair style, it’s that she gave credit to a caucasian actress (who, BTW, has long been accused of appropriating Fulani braids for the role). Twitter was quick to call out the middle Kardashian sister, with user @Teenagenature writing: “They are called Fulani braids or some may even say corn rows. You could of called them either one but you called them “Bo derek” giving credit to a white woman for a black style knowing you already catch heat for culture vulturing.”
If her social media is any indication, Kim doesn’t seem to care that she’s stirring up outrage. Shortly after the “BO WEST” post, Kim shared another pic on Instagram with the caption: “Hi, can I get zero fucks please, thanks.”