Profiting off of Black Art: The Crayon Case Story
“ppl knocking each other off lol” - Diet Prada
As reported on teenVogue, Moschino partnered with Sephora on a second collection with a ‘Back-to-School’ supplies aesthetic. The collection includes eraser styled makeup removers, eyeliners inspired by markers, and makeup brushes resembling pencils. The launch of the collaborative effort is set to drop tomorrow, April 25th.*
For some, this design by Jeremy Scott seemed to be an innovative and authentic sign of creativity. For others, not so much. There have been a plethora of social media users pointing out that this new Moschino x Sephora Collection mimics the makeup collection The Crayon Case, created by Black makeup entrepreneur Raynell ‘Supa Cent’ Steward. According to 21 Ninety, the makeup artist initially launched the The Crayon Case in 2017 for other makeup artists that were just starting off to ‘get their feet wet.’ (Sounds fitting)! Reportedly, last Thanksgiving holiday, Supa launched a Cyber Monday sale for The Crayon Case and made a record-breaking stream of revenue amounting to $1M within an hour and a half!
So, when Moschino x Sephora announced the launch of their collection last week, the Black community became completely irate for they deemed this as another attempt of a well established brand taking advantage of a Black creative’s hard work and profiting off of their innovation. While it is hard to call whether the brand deliberately stole the idea from the artist directly or if it’s just strangely coincidental the collection has distinctive resemblances to The Crayon Case, it can still be easily argued that Black creatives constantly face disadvantages when having to combat major brands profiting off of their ideas. While Black artists aim to create a name for themselves in such an exclusionary industry, there always seems to be a way for established fashion and beauty brands to produce a similar idea and be praised for it.
There is no secret well established brands continuously profit off of the ideas and aesthetics of young Black artists. Most times, this lazy means of ‘creativity’ goes unseen and young artists don’t receive the recognition they deserve. Take situations such as the one between CRWN Magazine and Nylon Magazine as an example. CRWN magazine is an independent fashion publication focusing on the lifestyle revolving around natural hair. Both magazines ended up releasing identical magazine covers for their February 2018 issues; CRWN Magazine’s Vol. 2 Cover was practically released a year prior. Editor-In-Chief Lindsey Day issued a personal statement to her subscribers describing her distaste of how mainstream media brands continuously profit off of our aesthetics while we are left getting the scraps. She also addresses how Black History Month shouldn’t be appropriated and only acknowledged as merely a marketing strategy.
Thankfully, we have social media accounts like Diet Prada and Estee Laundry to advocate for the disadvantaged artist; to call out brands for their plagiarism and hold them accountable for their lazy creativity. For this particular instance, Diet Prada picked up on the uproar over the dispute between The Crayon Case and the Moschino x Sephora Collection. With over 1 million followers, Diet Prada then, took it upon themselves, to cover it on their Instagram page; creating an open dialogue in their comments section. So, even though major media brands like Refinery29 or teenVogue don’t recognize the sights of plagiarism and robbery of young artists, we have accounts such as these to do the dirty work for them.
The power of social media is inevitable and, due to Supa’s following and customer base, the artist was able to have an entire community behind her before even issuing an official statement. Yet, while the situation has been brought to the surface, how can we ensure this artist receives justice? Will Black artists ever truly feel safe to freely create without worrying about major brands replicating their art?
*This article was updated to reflect the true date of the Moschino x Sephora Collection launch.