The reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West has been awarded $2.7m in damages by a California court after she filed a complaint against the US arm of fast fashion brand Missguided.
Ms Kardashian West sued the retailer for unauthorised use of her “trademarked name and likeness to promote its website and products”, according to court documents.
In one incident, Missguided posted a picture of a model wearing a gold lame dress on Instagram similar to one that Ms Kardashian West had shown herself wearing. The caption, which tagged the TV and social media star, read: “The devil works hard but Missguided works harder.”
Missguided, which is based in the UK city of Manchester, is one of a number of online retailers that sell cheap trend-led outfits. It is known for promoting clothes on the UK reality TV show Love Island and recently came under fire for selling a £1 black bikini, which critics of fast fashion said was typical of an industry where clothes are worn once and then go to landfill.
In the allegations against Missguided USA, the court filings said that the company had “not only knocked off the clothing of other designers, but it has unabashedly misappropriated the rights of celebrities like Kardashian in selling these knock-offs on its websites”.
Missguided USA did not defend itself against the claim. The parent company is taking legal advice and in a statement said: “We know the view of the Californian court. The legal process has not reached a conclusion.”
A source close to Missguided’s management said that it had not copied or intended to copy any of Ms Kardashian West’s clothes.
Wayne Brown, an analyst at Liberum, said that copying celebrity fashion was nothing new. “Human nature hasn’t changed but now in the age of the digital world it is so much more magnified,” he said, adding that clothes could be copied in an instant thanks to the posting of photographs on social media.
Ms Kardashian West has 143m followers on Instagram, one of the largest social media followings of any celebrity. She has her own fragrance and beauty lines that she promotes via her social media accounts, as well as a clothing line in collaboration with her husband, the rapper Kanye West.
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar magazine in April, Ms Kardashian West’s mother, Kris Jenner, said that her daughter could earn “definitely six figures” for promoting third-party products in an Instagram post.
Ms Kardashian West has previously spoken out against fast fashion companies such as Missguided on Twitter. In February she wrote: “It’s devastating to see these fashion companies rip off designs that have taken the blood, sweat and tears of true designers who have put their all into their own original ideas.”
Missguided USA was also ordered to pay Ms Kardashian West’s $60,000 legal fees and was prohibited from using the star’s “name, images, likeness, persona, and trademarks”.