Kylie Jenner is being accused of cultural appropriation after donning a camouflage bikini for the launch of her swimwear line.
Kylie and her sister Kendall have been designing upmarket clothing for several years, but this camouflage-themed line launched Thursday as a stand-alone entity, for sale on Kylie’s website. The signature item of the line is a two-piece athletic wear-inspired camo bikini, which Kylie models in the line’s ads.
But the bikini is getting attention for reasons other than Kylie’s ample assets. According to the Internet, which is always a reliable for criticism, Kylie has “culturally appropriated” the camouflage bikini—because Beyonce’s former group, Destiny’s Child wore a similar style in the video for their early-2000s hit, “Survivor.”
Now, of course, camouflage definitely predates Destiny’s Child.
Its invention dates back to the late 1700s, and wearing camouflage as a fashion statement gained popularity around the time of the first World War. Anti-war protesters in the 1960s wore military inspired, often camo-colored clothing as a way of making a political statement about the military industrial complex. Designers from John Galliano to Marc Jacobs to Yves Saint Laurent have all used camouflage in their runway designs at one time or another.
No matter, the Internet remains convinced that yes, Destiny’s Child invented camouflage, and therefore, because they are oppressed minorities and Kylie Jenner is a white woman of means, Kylie Jenner has, indeed appropriated culture.
Of course, its not like Kylie Jenner and the Kardashian family as a whole hasn’t done their share of appropriating other cultures or, for that matter, this bikini in particular. Besides getting blasted for “cultural” appropriation, Kylie is getting accused of actual appropriation: stealing many of the designs for her camouflage line from fledgling designer, PluggedNYC.
The store’s creative director claimed on Twitter that Kylie requested samples of their clothing, and even considered doing a photo shoot promoting the PluggedNYC brand, before coming out with some suspiciously similar designs marketed under her own line.
The brand even posted a side-by-side comparison of Kylie’s clothes with their own on Instagram. PluggedNYC says that while they didn’t “invent” camouflage, they did design a two-piece camouflage outfit, and aside from the lower waist and more modest bra, Kylie’s is almost an identical copy.
The Kardashian clan did not respond to a request for comment, on either the alleged cultural appropriation or the alleged actual appropriation.