Blackpink’s Lisa embroiled in styling controversy

    Chinese designer Yue Yang of A1J alleges Lisa’s ‘Rockstar’ music video outfit is a copy of her hero design.
    Blackpink's Lisa has landed in hot water for wearing a counterfeit design in her latest music video. Image: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella
      Published   in Fashion

    What happened#

    Netizens have emerged in their droves to defend Blackpink’s Lisa after the star was outed for wearing a design that allegedly counterfeited the work of Chinese fashion designer Yue Yang. The creative behind the A1J label, released a statement explaining that, after lending the unique star-shaped top to various stars, it was “blatantly copied by other people or ‘modified’ a bit to look otherwise.”

    A screenshot from Lisa's latest "Rockstar" music video. Image: YouTube
    A screenshot from Lisa's latest "Rockstar" music video. Image: YouTube

    Yue Yang said, “I agree that there are different minds thinking alike, but at the same time, I think my design was definitely somehow on someone’s mood board at some point. Both on designer pieces and on Taobao.”

    Worn by Lisa in her newly-released music video for Rockstar, the star top was reportedly conceived by Yang during her master’s studies in London a while ago. “For the past few years I tried to sue, or report the product, but getting a copyright for this design is both time and money-consuming,” said the designer.

    As a result of this accusation, the hashtag “Lisa's team copied” (Lisa团队抄袭) has over 21 million reads, appearing among Weibo’s hot search trending topics. The star’s huge fanbase has jumped to her defense, stating that the styling was outsourced and not in her control, redirecting the blame, in a bid to save her reputation.

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    The Jing Take:#

    Battling counterfeit designs is a relentless task, with fast-fashion brands consistently caught up in lawsuits with luxury houses. Chinese online retail behemoth Shein, for example, is frequently caught overtly knocking off designs. It has been involved in nearly 100 copyright cases, according to legal filings.

    Esteemed fashion-industry Instagram account @Diet_Prada has long been calling out brands for appropriating the ideas of designers, whether that is Zara emulating Marni and Diesel, or Valentino sandals being copied by Amazon.

    Many stars are often praised for supporting emerging talent, such as Megan Thee Stallion wearing Chinese designer Rui in her Hiss video and EP cover, or Ariana Grande wearing a Didu powder blue puffer jacket in her “Thank U, Next” perfume campaign. Therefore, Lisa has reputational points deducted on an immense scale – Rockstar has already raked in over 68 million views on YouTube since being posted five days ago.

    Even though A1J by Yue Yang is a small brand – the designer has just over 7,000 followers on Instagram and 14,400 on Xiaohongshu – it is the emerging talents that appear to be most subject to counterfeiting. Yet, they are often the most helpless in terms of their ability to combat the problem.

    Yang’s core hurdle in this situation is not having the capacity to deal with it as an independent designer.

    The talent wrote on Instagram. “I did not have the capacity to register my brand during Covid. Especially [because] I was designing and making in London, while most of the other ‘inspired’ pieces were made in other places; there’s a difference in law according to different regions.”

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