What happens when a popular Australian fashion label becomes aggravated with an international celebrity? Someone who once supported and wore their clothes. But also facilitated in making them the popular brand name they are today.

Miley Cyrus by Terry Richardson

Miley Cyrus by Terry Richardson

What was once a strong partnership has now made headlines all over the world. This year Miley Cyrus paraded the stage as the host of the MTV Video Music Awards. The focus this year was not on her hosting ability but the numerous outfits she wore throughout the show. Changing her outfit over 15 times it was not until the final performance, where the singer was joined on stage by her back up dancers, 31 drag queens from the TV show “Ru Pauls Drag Race” that people started to really take notice.

Photo of final performance from MTV VMAS

Photo of final performance from MTV VMAS

That same day, after witnessing this performance, fans turned to the web and proceeded to message Australian street wear designers Discount Universe to congratulate them on creating the outfits worn by Cyrus and the back up dancers. Discount Universe became popular for their vibrant clothing covered in large graphics and sequins.

Early Discount Universe designs

Early Discount Universe designs

The only problem with this was that Discount Universe did not create any of these costumes. It was the public proceeding to message the brands owners that made them notice how the designs bore a striking resemblance to those of Discount Universe. They were however designed by someone else who had been hand selected by the singer.

These costumes were designed by New York based label Bcalla (Brad Callahan). The reason so many fans of the celebrity assumed that Cyrus was wearing their clothing was because she has supported Discount Universe previously, wearing some of their clothing in merchandise images for a previous tour and a well publicized photo-shoot with photographer Terry Richardson. Miley Cyrus effectively helped to make Discount Universe the global brand name they now are today. But it does not discount the fact that some of the symbols used famously by this brand were replicated in the costume designs of Bcalla.

While this is now being heavily publicized by the media it does beg the question of how similar do the designs have to be for them to warrant being called a “rip off”. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it is however easy to see how the brand was frustrated by the noticeable resemblance these costumes had to their own designs.

Demonstrated in the below images:

Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAS wearing BCALLA

Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAS wearing BCALLA

Miley Cyrus wearing Discount Universe

Miley Cyrus wearing Discount Universe

Can Discount Universe claim the symbol of the evil eye used in both Cyrus’ MTV costumes and their designs as their own original image? After all, this symbol has been around for a long time and appeared in many other fashion labels collections. It could simply be that both labels have taken inspiration from similar influences. Is it wrong for this brand to claim ownership of the conceptual idea of bright colours sequins, large eyes and faces? This style has been apart of a kitsch genre of fashion and art for a long time now. But for now it seems as though the public has already made up its mind.

Other designers using sequins and eye motif

Other designers using sequins and eye motif

References:

Clarke, Jenna. 2015. ‘Miley Cyrus Snubs Australian Designers Discount Universe At Vmas’. The Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/miley-cyrus-snubs-australian-designers-discount-universe-at-vmas-20150831-gjby1q.html.

Hammett, Denzel. 2015. Scott, Ellen. 2015. ‘Miley Cyrus’ Vmas Outfits Have Kicked Off A Massive Controversy’. Metro. http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/02/australian-designers-say-miley-cyrus-vmas-outfits-were-stolen-from-their-designs-5371882/.

Huntington, Patty. 2014. ‘Australian Designers Discount Universe Hit The Jackpot’. The Saturday Paper. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/life/fashion/2014/02/28/australian-designers-discount-universe-hit-the-jackpot/1393552362.

Mail Online,. 2015. ‘Australian Brand Slams Miley Cyrus For Stealing Their Designs At Vmas’. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3217808/Miley-Cyrus-VMAs-costume-angers-Discount-Universe-brand.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter.

Scott, Ellen. 2015. ‘Miley Cyrus’ Vmas Outfits Have Kicked Off A Massive Controversy’. Metro. http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/02/australian-designers-say-miley-cyrus-vmas-outfits-were-stolen-from-their-designs-5371882/.

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