The purpose of camouflage is to blend into your surroundings, however Kylie Jenner’s new line of camo swimwear and apparel has made her stand out (and not in the way she hoped).Jenner is now joining her big sis Khloe Kardashian with accusations of copyright infringement.
Days after Kylie Jenner released her newest line of matching camouflage clothing, PluggedNYC’s creative director, Tizita Balemlay accused Jenner of copying her designs.
Balemlay took to Instagram with a side-by-side comparison of the lines with the caption “When you really Pablo… I am the influence *drops mic. Copy & Paste down to the shoes I used on my models.” The comparison between the two lines reads more like a ‘spot the difference between these two photos’ type of game, rather than an actual comparison.
So the next question may be, how can we be sure Jenner copied the designs or even knew the brand? If Jenner could prove independent creation (aka- she came up with idea all on her own) she would have a full defense to copying. Well, Balemlay made sure to show us the receipts by also posting screenshots of the emails where Jenner’s team requested swimwear and custom tops from PluggedNYC last month. Clearly showing that Jenner was very familiar with the brand.
Balemlay did not just do it for ‘gram, and made it clear that she is not claiming she invented camo, but that she was the one who brought the look back and Jenner is trying to claim it as her own idea. And even though It is legal to blatantly copy another designer’s line with common patterns like camo or polka dots, it is not something that any designer should do.
Should Jenner find herself in court over the camo line, it is anyone’s guess what will happen. Copyright law does not protect useful items (i.e. clothing), but does protect some prints if they reach the high bar set by many different courts. However, at the end of the day a basic camouflage pattern is not likely to be unique enough gain copyright protection, but has a slim chance at trademark protection, given the Navy’s successful trademark on their NWU 1 camouflage pattern.
Unfortunately, since PluggedNYC will not likely be able to show their camo has acquired the necessary distinctiveness in the eyes of the public in order to get trademark protection, this may be where this case ends.
Even if there is not a formal case against Jenner, she has been tried in court of social media, and found to be a KopyKat.