Kim Kardashian West, the woman who has built a billion dollar business on the very concept of imitation, has successfully sued Missguided USA for $2.7 million (around £2.1 million) after accusing the clothing brand of copying her outfits. In the lawsuit, Kardashian West also said that Missguided doesn't simply "replicate the looks of celebrities" but "systematically uses the names and image" of celebrities to sell products.
Missguided didn't respond to the lawsuit, which led to a default judgement last night. The company did, however, appear to delete a photo of Kardashian West from its Instagram page, posted back in February. It was a response to Kardashian West's tweet, showing a photograph of herself wearing a gold, cut-out dress designed by Kanye West. She wrote: "Going through old fitting pics & found this gold look that Kanye made for me for my Miami trip last summer (I went w the neon vibes instead) P.S. fast fashion brands, can you please wait until I wear this in real life before you knock it off?" Missguided then posted a photograph of what appeared to be a copy of the dress along with the caption: "The devil works hard but Missguided works harder".
There's nothing new in fast fashion brands copying designer's creations – companies like Missguided have built their entire business model on this very idea. But then, the same could arguably be said of Kim Kardashian West; her business model is based on imitation. She sells make-up based on her own, very specific aesthetic that, due to the overwhelming influence of the Kardashian family, has now been adopted by the mainstream.
It's also worth noting that while the debate over how much cosmetic surgery Kardashian-West may have had rumbles on (she's always denied it, but it's hard to see what else could account for the changes to her features over the years), she's happy to use her appearance as a commodity - selling it as something that can be achieved simply by buying and using her products, rather than going under the knife.
Also, Kardashian West has herself been accused of copying various designers in the past, and she has a long history of being called out for cultural appropriation. It's interesting that she would pursue Missguided in this lawsuit, for copying items that she herself has not designed. Missguided is still yet to make any comment on the issue.