Kylie Jenner’s Latest Cosmetics Campaign
I am very humbled and thankful to see that so many people and respected publications saw this situation for what it is. On behalf of all of the independent artists, we want to thank everyone who supported us.
There is a significant part of the story that is missing in the shared articles and I want to fill in the blanks so you can see it through our eyes.
IDEA & PHOTO SHOOT
On September 17th, my colleague and friend, professional Makeup Artist Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua on Instagram) and I got together for our regular creative collaboration. We usually have an idea for each photo shoot, but this time we both had been very busy and did not prepare in advance, so we decided to wing it. We had no reference imagery, no idea, no plan. The sole purpose of our non-commercial shoots is to practice our craft, explore our creativity and hopefully add new beautiful work to our portfolio, which will help us win new clients and get new work.
Like most independent and driven artists, we work really hard creating new work, growing our social media following, trying to get our images seen by our future clients. Every re-post, every tag matters.
I had been wanting to shoot a “See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil” beauty story, in which we could showcase the eyes, the lips and a full face makeup in separate frames. The reds and gold sounded festive, so we went for those colors in the name of the upcoming holiday season.
I loved the glossy Ombré lip design that Vlada and I did before, but never released those images, so we decided to re-create that again:
For the whole duration of the shoot we would throw ideas at each other and combine whatever we both liked, so we ended up with the story:
And more reds and golds:
I posted the See No Evil image on my Instagram on September 23rd, 2016. And the following post was an Anastasia Beverly Hills image that I retouched for the company. I tagged the team who created that image, including the photographer Marcelo Cantu:
KYLIE COSMETICS CAMPAIGN
On Saturday night, Vlada sent me a link to the new images posted by @kyliecosmetics. This campaign was shot by the very same photographer whom I tagged a couple of times in the past couple of months when reposting my retouching work for Anastasia Beverly Hills.
My initial reaction was emotional, and my Instagram post contained harsh words such as “pathetic knockoff”. I was in shock and disbelief. I am not proud of that, and I removed them shortly after I posted it and apologized to the photographer, he accepted my apology about using those words. But the issue is still there, whatever you name it.
FIND 10 DIFFERENCES
Vlada and I pride ourselves on always striving to create something new in our field. We never want to simply copy other artist’s creations. It just kills the joy of being creative professionals for us. While it is difficult to create something new and original in our day and age, we never stop trying.
You may say that the Ombré on the lips is different… let me show you this post by Vlada, dated September 8th, 2016.
Only 18 images back from the Speak No Evil image that she posted much later than I did:
DID KYLIE REALLY KNOW ABOUT ALL THIS?
I cannot know what happened there. I am a professional photographer and I know that commercial shoots could go both ways – the client may have reference images that they present to the creative team, or the other way around. It can also be that the creative team or the photographer describes the concept to the client and encourages to shoot it.
But after Vlada and I posted the comparison images, Kylie Cosmetics campaign photographer Marcelo Cantu posted a comparison between his own older image and my recent work, implying I copied him: “Ideas in art get recycled all the time… these are similar but both beautiful.”
He removed it later that night after comments about how “ridiculous this defense attempt” made him look started rolling in:
This is not the first time Vlada has had an issue with Kylie Cosmetics:
- Refinery29: The Controversy Surrounding Kylie’s Infamous Lip Kit (December 15th, 2015).
- DailyMail: Kylie Jenner accused of ‘stealing’ imagery and ‘ripping off’ the logo for her coveted lip product… (December 10th, 2015)
- Mashable: Kylie Jenner’s liquid lip Instagram gave the Internet a meltdown (December 7th, 2015)
Other artists and brands have also accused Kylie of copying their kits, looks and makeup formulas:
- Celebuzz: Kylie Jenner Accused of Copying Another Company’s Eyeshadow Palette (July 29, 2016)
- DailyMail: Coachella copycat? Kylie Jenner is accused of STEALING her festival look from a stylish Instagrammer (April 18th, 2016)
- USMagazine: Did Kylie Jenner Copy This YouTuber’s Eyeshadow Palette? (July 29, 2016)
- Buzzfeed: This Blogger Uncovered That Kylie’s Lip Kit Formula Is Cheap AF (May 10, 2016)
It breaks my heart to see how large brands take independent, unprotected artists’ work and use them to multiply their wealth.
In an ideal world, big brands would easily prevent such backlashes by:
A. Hiring the artists who have already created something that they would love for their own campaigns. In our case, we are not even in a different city – we are here, in Los Angeles, just a call or an email away. Some companies do so and I applaud those brands for giving a chance to the talented underdogs.
B. Simply adding “Inspired by such and such” in the captions when sharing their images that are so similar to the lesser known artists’ work.
As of now, Monday morning, not even 48 hours since Kylie Cosmetics image was released, there are articles about our incident in:
- Harper’s Bazaar: KYLIE JENNER IS BEING ACCUSED OF COPYING A MAKEUP ARTIST’S WORK FOR HER HOLIDAY PROMO IMAGES
- Vogue.es: http://www.vogue.es/moda/news/articulos/kylie-jenner-acusada-copiar-imagenes-maquillaje
- Seventeen: People Are Accusing Kylie Jenner of Copying a Makeup Artist’s Work for Her Holiday Promo Images
- Allure: Kylie Jenner Is Being Accused of Copying by Makeup Artist Vlada Haggerty
- BuzzFeed: This Makeup Artist Is Accusing Kylie Jenner Of Stealing Her Ideas
- Resource Magazine: KYLIE JENNER IS BEING ACCUSED OF RIPPING OFF ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER’S PHOTO
- BET: Kylie Jenner Getting Destroyed by Commenters for Blatantly Ripping Off Reputed Make-Up Artist (Again)
- International Business Times: Kylie Jenner Accused Of Copying Makeup Artist’s Photo For Kylie Cosmetics Campaign
- HER.is: Kylie Jenner accused of copying a makeup artist for her new campaign
UPDATE from Nov 22, 2016:
- SLR Lounge: KYLIE JENNER’S IMAGERY IS AS ORIGINAL AS AN ECHO | COPIES OTHER ARTISTS’ WORK, AGAIN?
- Yahoo Style: Is Kylie Jenner a copycat?
- Style.Mic: Kylie Jenner is being accused of copying a makeup artist’s original work yet again
UPDATE from Nov 28, 2016:
- TMZ: MAKEUP ARTIST THREATENS COSMETIC LAWSUIT
- AOL (video): Make up artist is threatening to sue Kylie Jenner over a series of photos she says were stolen ideas
- The Sun: COPY CAT? Kylie Jenner threatened with legal action after make-up artist accuses her of copying her lip-kit pictures
- Cosmopolitan: Kylie Jenner Threatened With Lawsuit Over Holiday Lip Kit Fingers
- NY Daily News: Makeup artist wants to sue Kylie Jenner over cosmetics line: report
- MTV Beauty UK:
- Perez Hilton: Makeup Artist Threatens Kylie Jenner With Legal Action For Ripping Off Her Pouty Pics!
- Eдинственная (Ukranian Beauty & Style Magazine): УКРАИНСКИЙ ВИЗАЖИСТ ОБВИНИЛА СЕСТРУ КИМ КАРДАШЬЯН В ПЛАГИАТЕ (ФОТО)
- Toronto Sun: Make-up artist accuses Kylie Jenner of stealing her artwork again
- StyleCaster: Makeup Artist Threatens to Sue Kylie Jenner Over Allegedly Stolen Images
- Wendy Williams Show (below)
We are very thankful to everyone who saw this issue for what it is and supported us.
Only does it really help us independent artists on a global scale.
Or is this publicity only beneficial for Kylie Cosmetics?
UPDATE (END OF JANUARY 2017):
We’re happy to share that the issue has been resolved.