Famous people ripping off indie designers and artists is nothing new. Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Manny MUA, and Jeffree Star (twice over) have all been accused of getting a little too "inspired" by the creative work of others.
Now another popular YouTuber has been embroiled in a "blatant" merch copying scandal.
This is Amanda Ensing. She's a beauty and lifestyle vlogger with a social following in the millions.
Her YouTube channel — where she posts videos recreating Kim Kardashian's beauty looks and swatching Becca highlighters — has one million subscribers. A million people also follow her every move on Instagram.
So you may not immediately recognize her name, but believe me, she has a surprisingly huge platform.
On Black Friday, Ensing launched a line of merch in her own online store. The drop included this white hoodie — which is where the drama began.
"I am so proud of this," Amanda said in the launch video. "This hoodie is my baby. I went through so many different versions, so many different hoodies.... and this is what I came up with."
It has Amanda's signature embroidered on the chest with a pink "YSL inpsired" lipstick. This hoodie was on sale for $40, but the "real" price was $60.
No issues yet, right? Hold on to your butts.
On the inside sleeve of this hoodie are nude lipstick swatches, which Amanda says are "SO CUTE." There's just one problem — someone already had this idea, and they say Amanda stole it.
This is Kelsey Kinsman, CEO and designer of indie fashion line Skull House Designs. She's wearing an original "Swatch Queen" shirt, complete with the inner-arm swatches that she claims Amanda copied.
Kelsey's shirt, which is currently available ($36, Skull House Designs) has "swatch queen" written across the chest... and five nude swatches on the inner arm.
Looks *pretty* familiar, right?
Kelsey posted a still from Amanda's merch reveal video to her Snapchat, with the caption "Amanda Ensing's new merch. BLATANT copy of my swatch queen tee I did a few months back. idk what to say honestly..."
Ensings has a combined social following of 2 million people. Kelsey's business, Skull House Designs, has twelve thousand Instagram followers. A bigger, more powerful personality "borrowing" elements from a smaller indie brand to make an absolute buttload of money is not OK!
But Skull House wasn't letting this slide. Kelsey took to Snapchat to call out Amanda, not just over a stolen idea — she claims that Ensings' hoodie uses her EXACT swatches.
"I worked so hard on that shirt... that shirt made me want to start Skull House," Kelsey says in a long Snap story recorded by Saunders Kennedy. "And her swatches are an EXACT replica of mine. They're not even original shapes or colors. It's literally identical.
If that's how she wants to run her business by copying other people's work, she can do that. I couldn't sleep at night knowing that I blatantly copied someone else's stuff."
Fans were quick to create comparison pictures of both swatches, and the similarities seem PRETTY CRAZY.
The image at the top is the detail from Amanda's hoodie.
The image at the bottom are Kelsey's original swatches.
The colors and the shapes both look nearly identical. The person who created this image observes that Amanda's swatches look a little warped because of the placement on the sleeve.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Kelsey claims that Amanda took more than just her swatches. "She even named it on her website 'Swatch Queen.'"
The original Skull House tee said "Swatch Queen" across the chest, in case you're keeping track at home.
As you might expect, people got REALLY upset about this alleged copying situation.
"You say you worked hard for months but I don't understand. A hat that says "boss" that can be purchased literally anywhere and a then a swatch hoodie that someone who works for you stole the design of. What were you doing for months? I can't stand the pity party," said one person on Twitter.
"I don't usually announce my departures because YouTube isn't an airport, but BYE GIRL," said a former YouTube fan.
"Real artists APPRECIATE other people's creations, not steal them," said another.
There are thousands of comments on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter combined defending Kelsey and DRAGGING Amanda for — allegedly — copying an indie artist.
It got so heated that Amanda posted an official video statement to her channel in which she denied ANY wrongdoing, then threatened legal action.
"I would never intentionally hurt [my followers] or anyone else. The person [Kelsey] who was brought to my attention, I had never heard of and didn't steal anything. If someone thinks I've taken something from them, they're more than welcome to reach out to my legal team with their copyright or trademark paperwork... I would never steal something from someone else to gain a profit."
She also addressed the people who were calling her out, saying "Instead of putting all of this energy into attacking someone else, put it into yourself."
"And for those of you who are suddenly attorneys, my legal team will be waiting. Because I will not be threatened and I will not be slandered."
"I'm so sorry for how everything was handled. I would never intentionally hurt you or steal from someone. I hope @kelseykinsman and you all can forgive me. I can only learn from my mistakes," Amanda wrote.
"Again, I'm very sorry and made a mistake. I could've handled it better and will learn moving forward from this situation."
Whether fans will accept Ensing's apology remains to be seen.
Kelsey has locked down her social media accounts — but HAS brought back her original Swatch Queen tee for a limited time only.
This shirt ($36, Skull House Designs) is only available for pre-order for a limited time, so if you want to support indie designers and creators, check it out right now!
Indie artists like Kelsey and Skull House Designs keep the style — and beauty — industry moving forward. She deserves to be acknowledged (and compensated) fairly.
Having a bigger social following doesn't give ANYONE the right to take ideas or designs — allegedly or otherwise — from smaller brands and designers. Talented people like Kelsey make a living off their creative awesomeness, and it's good to see so many people acknowledging how important that is.