The Moschino x Sephora Collaboration Bears an Uncanny Resemblance to Black Woman-Owned Brand The Crayon Case
âThe creative concepts and ideas of black women are more often than not pushed to the side and seen as invaluable until they are seen as profitable and valid by the powers that be, especially in the fashion and beauty industries. In which cases, these very ideas are then picked up by those that once shunned them and marketed to the masses as new and innovative, leaving the black individuals responsible for the innovative ideas with not even a nod or credit to their creative intellectual property.
"Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable," the conversation and thought-provoking phrase made popular by designer and fashion activist Nareasha Willis, continues to come to mind when highlighting the way black people are seen and valued in fashion and beauty more and more as the days go by.
The latest instance presents itself as luxury fashion brand Moschino unveiled its collaboration with beauty retailer Sephora of a cosmetic line that bears an almost identical resemblance to the creative concept behind black female-led brand The Crayon Case.
Image Credit: The Crayon Case
The Crayon Case is owned and operated by CEO Raynell "SupaCent" Steward and was launched in 2017 with a school supply-themed creative concept. The brand took the beauty community by storm, becoming an instant hit amongst influencers and consumers alike and going viral in November of last year after the indie brand generated a million dollars in sales in just an hour and a half for their Cyber Monday sale. The New Orleans native is a favorite on social media, garnering a following for her hilarious viral videos. Her story of going from being a waitress to the founder and CEO of a successful and powerful cosmetics brand is such an inspiring example of authenticity and drive.
Image Credit: The Crayon Case / 21Ninety
âAfter Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott announced the collaboration via Instagram and upon the release of the Moschino x Sephora collaboration, The Crayon Case fans and fashion industry whistle-blower account Diet Prada were quick to spot and call out the obvious similarities between the two collections. The nine-piece collection from Moschino's Sephora collaboration includes pencil makeup brushes, pink eraser beauty sponges, marker eyeliner and other office and school supply-themed products that are almost identical to those that The Crayon Case offers.
âThe Crayon case fans rushed to offer words of support and solidarity for Steward regarding the new collection. Many exclaimed how The Crayon Case concept was completely ripped off, claimed they would no longer be supporting Sephora as a result, called on the beauty retailer to discontinue the knockoff line, said the retailer should have instead partnered with Steward and The Crayon Case instead of with Scott and Moschino on a similar concept, and highlighted the continued issue of black creatives being disrespected and snubbed for their work while others made the profit. To the wave of support, Steward responded in the comments of the Diet Prada Instagram post by saying "I'll be okay. We all can make money but god sits high. [I'm] extremely blessed."
Something very similar happened not long after Steward launched The Crayon Case. One of the reasons that the cosmetics brand was so special was that it tapped into a sense of nostalgia for their consumers, bringing back memories from childhood and coloring with crayons and the bright colors and a much simpler time. One of the first products that Steward offered under The Crayon Case was the eyeshadow palette, Box of Crayons, a beautiful assortment of bold colors and rich pigments that take you right back to coloring books and scribbling doodles on computer printer paper. The palette was a viral success on social media, and where there is media attention, there is also a big corporation or label trying to ride the coattails of and catch the momentum of a smaller brand's success. Crayola released makeup line Crayola Beauty in collaboration with British fashion retailer ASOS soon thereafter. They didn't even have to say it; we all knew where their source of inspiration came from.
Image Credit: Us Magazine, Vogue Austrailia, Byrdie, Cosmopolitan, Allure, ASOS, Vampy Varnish
This is also not the first time that Scott has been accused of stealing a concept from another creative. Just last September, it was reported that Norwegian designer Edda Grimes accused Moschino of stealing the design concept for the looks at their S/S 2019 show. Grimes revealed via an Instagram post that she had met with the label a year prior and showed them her work, including her original ideas and sketches. Let's also make note that a pieces from the collection that Scott was accused of stealing are featured on the model in his Moschino x Sephora announcement post--see above!
Steward shared with BuzzFeed that she was very devastated, regarding the collaboration between the luxury fashion brand and the beauty retailer, but she also shared that the silver lining was that her followers flood the comments whenever the collaboration is posted and her sales go up. At the very least, this situation provides an opportunity for Steward and The Crayon Case's success to skyrocket and keep more money and support in their corner.
The phrase that people love to use in instances like these when caping for the accused party is that "imitation is the highest form of flattery." Takes like this are so insensitive, especially when the (assumed) success of the imitator comes at the expense of the black entrepreneurs who are simply trying to push their own innovations and ideas. It says more about the brands that copy the work of independent companies and creatives and how their team is incapable of bringing innovative and fresh ideas to the table, having to steal from those smaller companies because they know that no real harm (from a legal and significant financial standpoint) will come to them in most cases. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving credit where credit is due. For entrepreneurs and creatives, credit for their work is everything; it's the difference between obtaining more access + opportunity and missing out on pivotal moments and checks because their name isn't attached to the product that is a result of their intellectual property. There is so much missed opportunity in stealing concepts and ideas from other creatives. Black women, specifically, have to work so hard to be able to be recognized on a mainstream level. It is disrespectful at the bare minimum to steal their ideas and pass them off as a brand's own idea when they could just as easily collaborate with them or hire them. There is so much money to be made in joining forces, audiences, and creative ideas, authentically and ethically doing so. In this apparent age of black outrage being a form of PR for these companies, it is so important that we commit to uplifting and supporting the entrepreneurs and creatives whose work we believe in on purpose.
Situations like these literally speak to the power and influence that black women possess. When we make moves and apply pressure, change quickly follows and shifts happen! May Raynell Steward and The Crayon Case receive all of the money, blessings and support in all endeavors. Let's keep the black dollar circulating!
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