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Fashion blogger and designer Danielle Bernstein, the name and face behind WeWoreWhat, is once again being very publicly accused of stealing ideas from another influencer.
On Feb. 18, micro influencer Kelsey Kotzur took to TikTok to call the fashion mogul out for apparently stealing not one, but two of her outfit ideas and Instagram post concepts. In the caption of the video, which has already received more than 755,000 likes, she called the whole incident “so disappointing,” and thousands of TikTokers expressed similar sentiments in the comments.
Speaking to In The Know, Kotzur explained exactly what transpired leading up to her decision to speak out on TikTok. The influencer was first made aware of a post on Bernstein’s account that looked strangely similar to her own in late November, but it was when the fashion blogger seemingly copied her for a second time that she felt inclined to say something.
“A friend of mine actually sent me the photo of her in the Simonett top [in November],” Kotzur explained. “Her caption was ‘When Instagram shows you a new way to wear your top’ so I commented on her photo saying ‘Was it me?’ I thought I was just being cheeky and nothing would come of it. […] She never reached out or acknowledged my comment but tons of people liked it. She did however post a story the next day about how she isn’t required to tag every brand in her photos because they aren’t paying her to do so.”
“Yesterday, I was in my room filming a TikTok video when my friend sent me a text saying ‘OMG LOOK AT THIS’ and it was a screen grab of Danielle’s photo on Instagram,” she continued. “The same 4-photo collage, the same exact cardigan from Urban Outfitters, no credit given in the caption. It really made me upset because if she tagged me in the photo or on her stories, it would have been massive! But Danielle has been known to avoid accountability so it didn’t shock me. She has been stealing/ripping off small businesses, BIPOC creators and other influencers for way too long. That’s what inspired me to make the TikTok video. I had to speak up for myself.”
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Though Kotzur’s post has clearly made a splash online, Bernstein seems reluctant to apologize. Before she turned the comments off on her recent posts, she responded to a commenter who suggested that she give Kotzur credit and denied everything, saying, “I’ve never seen that girl’s profile before but so cute! Great minds.”
Though it’s possible that Bernstein herself didn’t see Kotzur’s photo, she noted that she likely has a team of girls who scour Instagram for her “looking for popular trends/poses/etc.” Either way, she said, it’s wrong.
“I’ve received so many DMs from other small creators who have said that similar things have happened where her assistants will like the photo, then unlike it quickly and the next day Danielle will post a similar (if not the same) photo,” Kotzur said. “I think if it’s not her, it has to be the people around her and they’re all feeding off of smaller creators/brands because they think that we don’t have a big enough voice to call them out. I think I proved her wrong on that front.”
At the end of the day, all Kotzur really wants is the credit that she deserves. Bernstein has more than 2.6 million followers on Instagram, so a tag or any other sort of recognition could do wonders for a smaller creator.
“I hope that bigger creators see what has happened with my video and they are reminded of when they were first starting out,” Kotzur said. “We all started somewhere. It’s so unfair to steal ideas/concepts from people with a smaller following simply because you can. There is plenty of room on social media for everyone to have a seat at the table.”
Bernstein has a history of stealing ideas from other creators.
Bernstein is no stranger to controversy and accusations. As the 28-year-old’s career as taken off, accusations from small businesses, micro influencers and fellow fashion designers have come pouring in, accusing the young entrepreneur of copying ideas without credit.
In May 2018, for instance, Bernstein’s Lulu DK x WeWoreWhat jewelry collaboration was put under the microscope and many of the pieces in the collection were found to look eerily like other designers’. Diet Prada, an Instagram account that keeps influencers accountable, even did side-by-side comparisons of Bernstein’s collection with the designers she seems to have copied, and called her out for essentially just selling pieces from her personal collection by designers including Foundrae, Retrouvaí, Bondeye Jewelry, and Tiffany & Co.
In response to the backlash, Bernstein tearfully claimed that the inspiration for the line came from her late grandfather, but the damage was already done. Several of the pieces were removed from the line, and department store Nordstrom stopped selling all of the pieces being questioned.
In March 2020, Bernstein also faced similar accusations of stealing designs — this time from Cecilie Bahnsen, whom Bernstein has publicly supported over the years.
When Bernstein’s Macy’s collection was released, Diet Prada was quick to note that it looked like the designer took “a little more than just ‘inspiration'” from Bahnsen. In particular, the baby doll mini dress in her collection bears a striking resemblance to Bahnsen’s signature pieces.
There are several more instances of Bernstein being called out for copying and stealing from other designers. In July 2020, she claimed that she was remaking a pair of “vintage gym shorts from the ’90s” that were actually shorts she had purchased from Etsy. In the same month, she reached out to a small business called Second Wind to learn about their fun mask-and-chain design and then allegedly decided to copy and sell it. The list goes on.
At this point, Berinstein is so infamous for seemingly stealing other people’s ideas that there is even an Instagram account devoted to calling her out on her BS. The account, aptly named @weoverwhat, describes itself as “sick and tired of being punked by Danielle Bernstein,” and it has 11,500 followers and counting. Be sure to give them and Diet Prada a follow if you want to stay abreast of all the latest Bernstein drama.
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If you enjoyed this story, check out this Instagram account that points out similarities among Influencer posts.
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