Miley Cyrus has caused another scandal in the celebrity world, this time by donning an outfit at the August 30 MTV VMAs which has an uncanny resemblance to the “signature brand” of Discount Universe (DU). Miley has worn DU clothes before — and crediting them — so it was a surprise for many to see Miley so flagrantly used the brand’s image for her own appearance without acknowledgement. Discount Universe has not yet officially commented. According to DU’s Instagram account, however, they were not told about the deal.
“To actually suggest that we ASKED for it is atrocious. No one ASKS to get hurt. WELL DONE @simoneharouche #VICTIMBLAMING at its finest. Instead of teaching people to stand up for themselves, let’s teach them to shut the [censored] up, or they’ll get knocked the [censored] down.”
Here is a clip from the VMAs showing some of the performance.
— MTV (@MTV) August 31, 2015
The Twitter row shortly ensued with the consensus being that the similarities are undeniable. But people will have to stand in line to be upset at Miley. From her scantily clad clothes, to her gestures of sticking out her tongue to twerking on stage to her controversial political campaign to “free the nipple“, Miley seems to make her career by offending people.
wow i had assumed mileys VMA outfits were by Discount Universe… but theyre just rip offs… tsk tsk sad
— ★MILKBBI (@milkbbi) August 31, 2015
If you’re upset that Miley ripped off Discount Universe take a second to think over the fact she did this while wearing dreadlocks
— Thrash Infection (@errrnah) August 31, 2015
Of course, this outfit was just one of many that Miley Cyrus wore on the evening, but it was the closing, and arguably the most outrageous and attention grabbing part of the evening. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, Women’s Wear Daily contributor Patty Huntington had this to say about Miley’s fashion choice.
“It’s very rude by Miley who was Discount Universe’s biggest fan. She made their psychedelic T-shirt iconic during her Bangez tour and now to appear to commission someone else to make something very similar is odd.”
So, did Miley Cyrus plagiarise DU? Miley Cyrus ended the 2015 VMA with drag queens in tow to perform the Dead Petz single “Dooo It!” The costumes were all designed by BCALLA, who, like DU, has a reputation for “colorful, cartoonish aesthetic.” It is difficult to say whether any lawsuits will be filed, as DU might find the publicity good for its bottom line. And lawyers would be quick to point out that no one can patent sequins and large icons, including giant eyes and faces, which have been a part of other Kitsch culture artists for decades. De Castelbajac, a designer for Katy Perry, has designs that could be said are the inspiration for the larger mass producers, such as DU, who expand on the very bizarre of catwalk fashion.
As is well known in the fashion industry, artists inspire and industry mass produces renderings without giving credit to the original artist. In this way, Miley Cyrus, by hiring her own artists, is simply creating a different rendering of an already well-articulated style — at least that is how the argument goes.
Whether the impact of this story will help or hurt DU more is to be decided as the extra news coverage of the retailer will no doubt result in greater sales. However, it is understandable that the brand’s own designers would want credit for their work, as opposed to just having the work lifted. For now, let us reflect on the new single by Miley Cyrus — which is still in its rise up the charts — close our eyes, and imagine her next outrageous act.