The Controversy Surrounding Kylie’s Infamous Lip Kit

Update: We talked with makeup artist Vlada Haggerty about the Kylie kontroversy. Your melting-lips artwork looks eerily similar to Kylie’s Lip Kit packaging; do you think that’s mere coincidence?
"I would rephrase it to 'the packaging looks similar to the lip art that I do.' My original rose-gold picture was posted on my Instagram page on May 12, 2015." At what point did you realize that your rose-gold artwork was being circulated and reposted on the brand’s Instagram page? What was your reaction?
"The second I saw the post on [the brand's] Instagram, I got very excited, but then I realized that I wasn't given credit for the photo; there was no mention of my name, not even a tag... People [began] commenting [and] asking to give me the credit for the picture. The page finally edited the caption the next day to 'inspo @vladamua #lipkitbykylie,' which still implied that the picture belongs to the brand and they just got inspired by me. Plus, the hashtag implied affiliation with the brand, which was untrue." Has anyone from her team reached out to you about working with them or using your art?
"No, nobody reached out to me before or after the incident. I did message the brand through Instagram on the day of the repost, but there was no response." Why do you think crediting original artists is so important?
"Crediting artists is essential, but this goes beyond that. It's theft; this is our livelihood...I see these things happen too many times to artists. We are all trying to make it, and this business is extremely competitive. I would ask anyone at this level use the proper channels to obtain images…"
This story was originally published on December 9 at 5 p.m.
It's been a little more than a week since Kylie Jenner released her new, insanely popular, internet-breaking Lip Kit. It's gotten some good and some not-so-good feedback, but we're guessing the 18-year-old mogul's goal was achieved: The Lip Kit was on everyone's lips — and still is. But the latest conversation surrounding the product is a bit more...kontroversial (sorry, not sorry). The Instagram page dedicated to the collection showed an image of mysterious rose-gold lips earlier this week, and rumors immediately started swirling about whether the hue would be next in line for the kit. Many major media outlets covered the buzz, but to followers of makeup artist Vlada Haggerty, the image (seen below) looked very similar to a 'gram the MUA had posted of a lip look she created more than seven months ago. The artwork has since been deleted from the Lip Kit Insta page, and though, according to Seventeen, the person running the account did credit Haggerty with a caption (that was reportedly added later) stating: "inspo by @vladamua," that didn't stop Haggerty's fans from speaking out.

A photo posted by Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua) on

After Haggerty posted a screenshot of an article from Harper's Bazaar titled, "Is This Kylie Jenner's Next Lip Color?" with the caption, "And the insanity continues.... @graftobianmakeup what can we do about it? This is your loose metallic powder in Copper mixed with the clear gloss! #graftobianmakeup #vladamua," fans quickly came to her defense (sic, obviously): "The wording is not ok. It leads people to believe the products used were from her lip kit, and that the look was inspired by @vladamua instead of created by. Simple as that. Poorly done on the LipKit social media teams part, and poor marketing 101. But I am not shocked, as the Kardashian PR team has done this time and time again. They regularly used my friends photography and floral crowns on Kardashian kids without credit as well. When pressed they pulled this same thing. 'Inspired by...' No. It's not ok," wrote @silverfirsfarm. Many recommended Haggerty reach out to a lawyer because this is copyright infringement, and others started tagging the outlets that wrote about the gossip, demanding they properly credit the makeup artist for her work.

A photo posted by Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua) on

We also couldn't help but notice that the artwork for Kylie's Lip Kit packaging (while dope af) also looks eerily similar to that of Haggerty's signature looks (which are equally dope af). While there's no way of confirming whether Kylie's team completely ripped off the makeup artist, the first appearance of the drip (drop, drip drippity-drop) lips, based on what we gleaned from a deep dive into Haggerty's account, is from almost a year and a half ago. And a quick scroll through her page proves that she posts similar images — and often. Now before you try and hit us with a "Haggerty should be happy Kylie recognized her work" rebuttal, as the MUA points out in her post, this kind of "recognition" is a slippery slope. "To everyone, who comments that I need to 'chill out', 'be grateful' and 'it's not a big deal', THIS is what will continue to happen if I don't educate people," she wrote on Instagram with an accompanying picture (seen below). "They are my lips, my photo, my editing, my home made lipstick color..."

A photo posted by Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua) on

True, on the internet, pictures get reposted and retweeted all day, every day, and it's often hard to track down the original source. But while plagiarism is a-plenty in the World Wide Web age, that doesn't mean we should accept it. It's why people spoke out against The Fat Jewish for using images that weren't his without properly citing them. And it's why people were so up-in-arms about Cara Delevingne reportedly jacking a sweatshirt design from L.A. design collective Otherwild. If someone claimed something you created as their own — especially when that someone has significantly more followers and influence than you — wouldn't you get upset, too? Story developing; we've reached out to both Kylie's people and Haggerty for comment and will update this post if/when we hear back.
Related Links:
We Tried Kylie Jenner's Lip Kit & Here's Our Unfiltered Opinion
Kylie Jenner's Lip Kit Is Going For $10,000 On eBay
Exclusive: We Talk Lip Kit With Kylie Jenner

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