An independent fashion label says that Kylie Jenner's new collection of camouflage garb is a premeditated knockoff of its own designs — and it's got the receipts. Literally.
Streetwear brand PluggedNYC — which has famous fans in Rihanna, Keke Palmer, and, well... Kylie Jenner — claims that the styles in Jenner's highly hyped camo "drop," including swimwear, bra tops, tees, cargo pants, etc., resemble the New York line's clothing a bit too much for it to be coincidental. And according to Plugged, Jenner, 19 (IKR), ordered and wore its clothing only about a month ago. Eesh.
Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that PluggedNYC released its own line of camouflage swimwear over Memorial Day weekend, not even two weeks ago.
On Thursday — the day of Jenner's drop — PluggedNYC CEO and creative director Tizita Balemlay shared an Instagram story (via Twitter user @kelshareese) of what appeared to be screengrabs of email conversations between Balemlay and a name-redacted employee of Jenner from May. The emails centered around Jenner being sent PluggedNYC swimwear and clothing for a photo shoot. "Look forward to further working with you!! Kylie loves your pieces," writes Jenner's person, soon after her boss posted several selfies wearing a barely there knit top by the NYC label. Later, they ask whether Balemlay would be able to customize specific clothing for the famous teen:
Balemlay also posted comparison shots on her personal Instagram, juxtaposing a shot of Jenner in her camo bra-top and sweatpants and several similar offerings from PluggedNYC. "When you really Pablo... I am the influence *drops mic.," she captioned the images. "Copy & Paste down to the shoes I used on my models 😂😭 The kardashains will take your n*gga & brand I stamp lmfaooo." For real, tho – both PluggedNYC's models and Jenner are wearing clear heels with their camo.
And anticipating commentary from those claiming that camouflage is an equal opportunity print (since technically, it was originally designed for military use), Balemlay also explained more thoroughly her reasoning for feeling cheated by Jenner:
"Them: Did you invent Camo?
Me: Nope, but I sure as hell brought it back to life and pushed the two-piece Camo movement. I can't remember one brand that sold matching Camo two-pieces that weren't generic tees with cargo for ladies before my brand, unless it was custom. But hey... money is power smh I started my brand with pennies funny how someone can just take a whole movement bc of how much money and power they have."
(Of course, Balemlay did fail to mention that both she and Jenner owe pretty much all their camo co-ord credit to Destiny's Child — but due to the circumstances, and the fact that Ms. Tina Knowles Lawson has so-far remained mum on the subject, we'll let that slide. For now.)
At press, the typically tight-yet-inflated-lipped Jenner hasn't commented on PluggedNYC's allegations, and we'd honestly be shocked if she ever does. It's not like this is the first time she and her cohorts have blatantly been "inspired" by something they've already worn by another designer. But it's unfortunate when it happens, nonetheless — especially when the victim is a young, independent label that doesn't have the reach of someone with a professional momager™.
We've reached out to PluggedNYC for comment on this situation — particularly regarding whether Balemlay is planning to take legal action — and will update this post when we hear back.
UPDATE, June 9, 6:30 p.m.: Fashionista received the following statement from PluggedNYC:
"I woke up to bitches looking like me" *carti voice 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 blown 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
The unfortunate thing is, they're not wrong — all three of Jenner's camo bikinis are currently sold out, and there's no denying the star power and strength of her brand. Then again, there could be a silver lining: Here's hoping the press PluggedNYC is receiving from this debacle will raise even more awareness of the label. We have a good feeling it will.