Does Kim Kardashian Start Trends or Steal Them?

Kim Kardashian has been known to start a trend or two during her reign in fashion.  Like it or not, she made neutral colored, matching sets a thing–and her love for oversized outerwear has caught on as well.  Although she has undoubtedly inspired fashion fads and foes, she is also known to recreate staple looks from black culture and make them her own.  Whether her inspiration comes directly from a BET binge watching session or a stylist with the appropriate reference points, media sources continue to name her the creator of trends that have been around long before her days of running the streets with Paris Hilton.
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Remember when media outlets like MTV UK credited Kim for starting the ‘boxer braids’ trend?  Hair braiding is far from a trend.  The style has been the staple look for men and women of color for centuries.  Suddenly one day the Kardashian Clan puts a few braids in their hair and wahla! an age-old hairstyle has turned into a new creation.  What’s most troubling about this is that for years, men of color who wore braids were labeled thugs and women of color were called ghetto.  Now, braids are trendy and acceptable to all after media sources renamed and re-marketed the style.

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The latest, questionable trend created by Kim are nail piercings.  The 16-year old trend was reintroduced via her snapchat and sent the fashion/entertainment world into a frenzy.  “Kim Kardashian starts new trend as she tries out pierce nails,” read The Daily Mail headline.   Only problem is, this pre-existing trend dates all the way back to 1998 when Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson collaborated on the song, “What’s it Gonna Be.”  Women went to their neighborhood nail salons and styled their nails with piercings and designs as the trend became more popular.  As women began to decorate their nails, they were labeled ghetto, unprofessional and tacky.  Now, extravagant nail art is viewed as a must-do thanks to Kim.

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To her defense, she’s never publicly said that she created these trends.  She’s also never corrected the media on the origin of her inspiration.  Is it wrong to be inspired by a culture? Absolutely not! Is it wrong to not credit your inspiration?  Definitely.  There is a very thin line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.  What do you think?  Is Kim Kardashian starting trends or stealing them?

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