Another day, another scandal: Literally less than one week after Khloé Kardashian was dragged to hell for *allegedly* ripping off an indie designer, Kylie is in trouble for — again, allegedly — DOING THE SAME DAMN THING.
That's right. According to this indie designer, Kylizzle ordered multiple items from her store — then turned around and copied them for her newest merch drops.
And she has the emails to prove it.
This is designer and all-around queen Tizita Balemlay, CEO of indie streetwear brand PluggedNYC.
Since 2016, PluggedNYC has been representing "A woman's versatility, her capability to be both street and chic when she pleases." Specializing in ready-to-wear and custom pieces, Tizita's designs are that perfect blend of tough and revealing, structured yet deconstructed.
You may not know her brands, but your favorite celebrities definitely do — Balemlay names Rihanna, Kehlani, and Keke Palmer as clients and fans.
RiRi is wearing orange camo pants ($115, PluggedNYC).
PluggedNYC is especially known for its colorful camouflage two-pieces.
In a statement posted to Instagram, Balemlay wrote she didn't invent camo, "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."
Kylie Jenner is also a fan of PluggedNYC — she's worn items from the label before.
In this photo — which got a LOT of press, as Kylizzle shit is wont to do — Kylie's wearing the tan shoulderless crop ($62, PluggedNYC).
Which is why there were a LOT of raised eyebrows when Kylie's latest merch drop was FILLED with pieces that looked suspiciously like PluggedNYC designs.
Tizita, an indie designer who makes a living off her creativity, noticed the similarities herself — and posted a comparison picture. "Copy & Paste, down to the shoes I used on my models," she wrote.
"When you really Pablo... I am the influence *drops mic*," she wrote.
So instead of getting mad, Tizita got receipts — posting screengrabs of the emails Kylie's people sent her ORDERING the exact piece her brand (allegedly) copied.
These screengrabs were tweeted by @kelshareese, and show Kylie's people ordering PluggedNYC from Tizita to be used in a photoshoot... alllllllll the way back in May.
In the next email Balemlay shared, Jenner's people SPECIFICALLY call out how much Kylie "loves your pieces — especially your two-piece fits!"
Screengrab by @kelshareese
The final email contains a picture from Kylie's official Instagram, as well as her people asking if it would be possible for PluggedNYC to make custom pieces for Kylie... so this is looking PRETTY SUSPICIOUS.
Screengrab by @kelshareese.
After all of this, for Kylie to turn around and create an entire collection that looks AN AWFUL LOT LIKE PluggedNYC's original designs?
This is the second time THIS WEEK a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family has been called out for *allegedly* stealing ideas for their own fashion lines from indie designers and Black-owned businesses.
Earlier this week, Destiney Bleu, creator of DBleuDazzled, claimed Khloé ordered clothing from her online store, had her people copy it, and then made her OWN versions for Kardashian's Good American line.
And now, Tizita is making similar claims against Kylie — claims which APPEAR to show a pattern of fashion plagiarism in the Kardashian-Jenner business model.
Add in the fact that the entire Kardashian family has a long, shameful history of appropriating Black and Latinx culture, and this becomes an absolute shitshow.
PluggedNYC is an indie brand that deserves recognition for its original ideas, designs, and work. It is NOT OK for a well-known personality like Kylie Jenner to swoop in, *allegedly* get "inspired" by those original ideas, slap their name all over it, and make wads of money.
I've said it before, and I will keep saying it until I am blue in the face: The Kardashians et al are a cultural phenomenon. One Insta post from Kylie Jenner could put a smaller brand on the map — sell out a product, a line, an entire online store.
So when these women use this power and the considerable platform they have to SUPPOSEDLY take ideas from smaller designers — just because they can — it is not OK. It deserves to be called out.
"I started my brand with pennies," Tizita said on Instagram. "Funny how someone can just take a whole movement bc of how much money and power they have."
Kylie has yet to respond to the copying allegations — I'll keep you posted when (or if) she does.
In the meantime, the PluggedNYC online store is open for business — check it out, and support independent designers!