Fashion influencer Danielle Bernstein is once again being accused of copying an indie designer.
Designer Ngoni Chikwenengere, who runs sustainable black-owned brand We Are Kin, wrote on Instagram this weekend, “I’m really sad to have to say this but I am the latest victim of @weworewhat and Danielle Bernstein’s crusade against small designers.”
She claims Bernstein “sent me a DM to say she loved my Silk Strappy Maxi dress, and would I send her one.” She continued, “My friends said at the time to be careful, but I thought she wouldn’t rip me off as she’d DMd me herself and I like to think the best of female founders, you know?”
But this week, Bernstein posted a new design for her brand WeWoreWhat that Chikwenengere says “is identical to mine. The one I have poured my heart and soul into … This is my design, she has posted it all over her social channels and it is on sale to her millions of followers. I am truly devastated.”
Bernstein — who boasts 2.6 million followers — has responded online, reportedly saying in Instagram Stories, “I’m sick and tired of being accused of stealing designs or content that I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT … These ridiculous claims for 15 minutes of fame are unfounded and unfair.”
On Monday, Bernstein claimed in her Stories that she was offered the dress by Chikwenengere and Bernstein posted an “original” sketch from a freelance designer, which she claimed was used to create the piece.
“Tie back straps can be found a million ways with a quick Google search,” she says. She also claims her design is different because of the back and neck, fabric loops, length and states that “the construction is completely different.”
Bernstein claims she has tried to contact Chikwenengere about the situation. She added on Instagram, “With all the fake accusations in the press, I honestly don’t even blame her for feeling this way.” And that, “The death threats and disturbing messages me and my team are receiving are out of control … I’m fed up with this fake narrative being spread about me stealing designs when I have time after time proven each accusation false.”
We’re told Chikwenengere has retained copyright lawyer Jeff Gluck.
Bernstein has repeatedly faced plagiarism accusations. She was accused by indie brand Grayscale of allegedly cribbing a skirt design and is currently in a legal battle with undies brand the Great Eros over allegedly copying a design. Bernstein has denied the Great Eros’ claims.
She was also previously accused of swiping a mask design — which she has denied — and was accused of copying jewelry for a line with Nordstrom. Bernstein denied it, but a rep for Nordstrom said at the time: “We take situations like this seriously and partnered with Lulu DK and Danielle Bernstein to remove each of the pieces in question. We’re excited to offer our customers the chance to shop the rest of the collection.”