kim kardashian
photo: Getty Images

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?

Kim Kardashian first filed her lawsuit against Missguided in February. The sum she sought at the time was a whopping $10 million.

The official Council of Kardashian filed a formal complaint in California federal court on Wednesday, February 20, as reported by The Fashion Law

"While most companies understand and respect [her] right to control and approve any use of her name and likeness in connection with the promotion of products, other companies have sought out ways to leverage her celebrity status and social media following without seeking her consent," the complaint read.

The complaint also specifically accused Missguided of "turning [Kardashian] into an unwitting and unwilling spokesperson of their products."

The court documents also noted that Missguided has taken advantage of multiple celebrities' likenesses.

"Missguided [has] made this sort of unlawful misappropriation of Kardashian’s persona – and that of many other celebrities as well – a cornerstone of their marketing and sales strategy," it continued.
Kardashian explicitly demanded "no less than $10 million." I can barely count that high, but good LORDT, I know that's a lot of money. At the time, fans and critics had LOTS of thoughts. Could Missguided sustain that much of a dip in its account? Will this lawsuit even go through? Is Kardashian really going through with this even though she doesn't need the money?

It looks like she went through with it, and the court has sided with Kim Kardashian West for this one small reason.

Missguided lost the lawsuit because it failed to respond to the court summons at all. The court ordered the American branch of the UK–based company to pay Kardashian a total of $2.7 million in damages and $59,600 in attorneys' fees, as reported by The Fashion Law. Who knows how long this case would have dragged on had the brand actually responded. Sheesh. At least it's better than the $10 million that Kardashian originally wanted... right? 

Don't be surprised if you see a decrease in influencers wearing Missguided on Instagram. It looks like they'll be spending that money on paying back the biggest influencer of them all, Kim Kardashian.

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.

photo: E!

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.

photo: E!

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.