Kim Kardashian is raking in the millions one way or another, people! In an interesting series of events, the last $2.7 million she earned didn't come from KKW Beauty, her fragrances, social media ads, or even her reality TV involvement. Instead, Kardashian won that lump sum in a major lawsuit she filed against the popular fast-fashion retailer Missguided.
That's right. If you thought all the cheating scandals and the white savior and kimono backlash caused Kardashian to forget about her hefty lawsuit against the brand that used her likeness to sell knockoffs of her designer outfits, then think again. Kardashian has just put the entire fast-fashion industry on notice: She isn't playing any games when it comes to her name, her image, and her overall brand.
Or is she?
To be fair, Kardashian actually did have a strong case against Missguided.
The brand was 100% using her image and celebrity status to sell its clothes. It sold knockoffs of clothes she wore and posted to Instagram, then used her photos on the product pages to sell the knockoffs. The retailer even had an entire page dedicated to Kim Kardashian–inspired looks that featured a massive collage of Kardashian photos at the top. The "Crushin' on Kim K" page was taken down a few days after the initial suit was filed. That's even more interesting considering that the brand did not respond to the suit in court but seemingly responded by removing the "proof" Kim Kardashian had.
Maybe Missguided forgot we live in a screenshot world?
Now that the court has settled that spat, fashion fans can't help but turn their eyes toward a brand that's even more notorious for knocking off Kardashian's looks than Missguided.
Yep, we're looking at you Fashion Nova. Like Missguided, the beloved fast-fashion retailer has several knockoffs of Kim Kardashian's most popularly worn clothes. The brand STILL has Kim Kardashian's actual photos on the product page of this Cut to the Chase dress. This is no different from what Missguided did on its website, so why did the brands get different treatment from Kardashian?
In fact, when Kardashian called out "fast-fashion brands" for copying her looks, it was Fashion Nova — not Missguided — that responded with a public statement and an apology for causing any brand confusion.
Fashion Nova issued an Instagram apology to Kardashian and backed up her claims that the two are not in business together. This apology also came after fans began speculating that the two parties had a private relationship that involved Kardashian leaking designer clothes to Fashion Nova so that it could have knockoffs ready to promote and sell on the exact day she wore them publicly.
Since Kardashian never filed a lawsuit against Fashion Nova, it appears that apology might have softened her up a bit on the brand. It's still pretty hard not to wonder if they truly are sitting at the business table together, though. It's possible that we'll never, ever know the entire truth about that.
Kardashian's court victory against Missguided also begs the question about whether or not fast-fashion retailers will be more careful about how they move forward with knockoffs and celebrities' likenesses.
Knockoffs, in general, have been a massive problem in the retail industry for years. Little can be done about them thanks to the super-lazy trademark and copyright laws that leave most designers unprotected and the indie designers with lower capital the most vulnerable. Revelist reported on this in detail when black designers called out Fashion Nova for knocking off their work despite having the money to pay them fairly for collaborating with them on original designs.
Could this lawsuit filed by Kardashian be a tiny step toward more protection for creatives in this industry? It's truly difficult to tell at this point. The reason Kardashian won her suit (aside from Missguided just not responding and losing by default) is that she sued the brand on the basis of them using her image, not the knockoffs.
We'll all just have to keep all eyes on these fast-fashion retailers going forward to see how this lawsuit changes the retail industry, if it does at all.