Little Red Riding Vogue: Fashion plagiarism

They taught you about it all through your academic career—if you’re going to take something from someone else, you have to cite it. Otherwise, it’s plagiarism. You can absolutely be inspired by someone’s work, but if you don’t give them credit for the inspiration, you’re in the wrong.

One upsetting thing in the fashion industry is fashion plagiarism. So often, I hear of small designers or makeup artists having their looks stolen by big designers. In some cases, when the original designers try to speak up and make a claim for their art, the big designers have them silenced. They ignore any messages, delete any comments—they do what they can to erase the small designer and hold onto the stolen design as their own.

Most recently, I saw a case of this with a favorite Instagrammer of mine. LA-based makeup artist Mykie (better known as Glam & Gore) creates incredible, fantastical looks with makeup. In my opinion, some of them are worthy of Syfy’s “Face Off.” Specifically, she did a look in December that blew me away. She did her makeup in a way to give her skin a reptilian look. But that wasn’t all. She also made a fake skin to go with the look—as if she was shedding her normal face for a snake one.

Her first posting of the look has over 19,900 likes on Instagram. On February 20, Mykie posted a collage on Instagram showing her look being replicated at New York Fashion Week. The problem is, she wasn’t credited at all. Mehron Makeup recreated the look for brother and sister designers Michael and Stephanie Costello without attributing Mykie as their inspiration.

Everyone was stunned by and smitten with a look they thought came from Mehron. Meanwhile, Mykie wasn’t getting any praise for the look she worked so hard to create. Granted, there were slight changes to the Costello makeup, but it was very clearly a copy of her work.

In Mykie’s post, she mentioned that she was grateful to be considered such a good artist that people would want to replicate her looks, but she felt it was unfair that the looks went unaccredited. Since then, both Mehron Makeup and the Costellos have posted apologies on their Instagrams, admitting that the look came from Mykie, and that they are sorry that they did not recognize her as the source originally.

Unfortunately, this is one of the best cases I’ve seen. One of the worst is the recurring theft of designer Jeremy Scott. I used to be a huge fan of his work until he presented his Barbie looks for Moschino in the fall. When I started looking up more information about them, I found that he was accused of stealing the look from independent designer Nikki Lipstick. When you look at the pictures comparing the two collections, it’s uncanny.

When she tried confronting Scott via his Facebook page, Lipstick’s comments were deleted. He even blocked her on all social media. And this isn’t the first time he’s been caught stealing art or phrases from other designers or artists. Most unfortunately, he hasn’t seen any huge repercussions for his latest actions. In the past, he did face a court trial for stealing art and had to pull the pieces that featured it—as the artist was well known and had very distinct illustrations. However, Nikki Lipstick is a smaller designer and more easily silenced. Apparently, if you’re the bigger guy in the fight, plagiarism is fine.