Brand Dilution? Kanye West & Kim K: Who Would Have Thought a Convicted Criminal and his Alleged “Porn Star” Would Make the Cover of Vogue? #Fashionlaw

In Fashion Modeling Law by FASHIONENTLAW™

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In 2007, Kim Kardashian became an instant celebrity when a pornographic video of her and singer Ray-J, Brandy’s little brother, was released online. Kim claimed the video was a leak and a result of revenge porn, and that she tried to pursue legal action. Let’s just say nothing came out of the legal action, not even court filings, at least by all accounts. Instead, Kim was offered a reality television show and before you know it, became a regular staple and reality tv diet for millions of Americans.

Since the release of that sex tape, Kim has kept everyone on their toes, from her romance and break up with NFL player Reggie Bush to  her marriage and nasty divorce with Kris Humphries, it has been interesting, to say the least. She has also kept busy on the business side venturing into fashion, among other diversified brand offerings. Good for her but is that enough to get her on the cover of VOGUE MAGAZINE, the unequivocal fashion bible of the world?

As many often have asked over time, what is Kim famous for? Is it her talent as an actress, her singing abilities, her looks, the Ray-J porn/sex tape? What exactly is she famous for? Regardless of what makes her famous? Is it enough to get her on the cover of Vogue or has Anna Wintour just succeeded in weakening the respected Vogue brand i.e. brand dilution?

Why, arguably,  would anyone leave soft sell magazines like People, US Weekly etc. who regularly have Kim K  on their covers, to opt for VOGUE when both have the exact same content offerings, and the soft sells are cheaper?

Let’s see, might it be because Kanye West is also on the cover? But wait, didn’t Kanye just get convicted of a misdemeanor crime of which he has been placed on a two year formal probation and allegedly served a day in jail? What interesting times we live in.

In fashion and for the covers of Vogue, there is a clear understanding that you may commit a crime but it is probably a good idea if you do not get caught and worse, convicted. In addition, if you are black and male and trying to get the respect you believe you deserve from the fashion industry, it is probably a good idea that the world’s top fashion magazines, fashion capitals and respected fashion industry insiders give you glowing reviews and  thumbs up for your collections; and that you can get into shows as a guest of other prominent designers, among other things.

Nevertheless, for Kanye, there seems to be a disregard for these spoken and unspoken rules.

For starters, the plea he just took that makes Kanye officially a convicted criminal, is the result of a fight with a photographer where Kanye  battered and assaulted the photographer. Also, among fashion circles, we  have seen Kanye snubbed at shows in Paris, fashion editors criticize his fashion designs with seeming fashion vengeance and we have witnessed him cry blood i.e. “you ain’t got the answers sway” in protest against the fashion elitist that won’t let him get past the fashion gates.

So how is it that he bypasses all of the above and gets a Vogue cover? As in VOGUE Magazine, really?

That’s a discussion worth having and hearing your thoughts in the comment section. What I will tell you is what we all know and have heard i.e. fashion follows the money. Anna Wintour is not stupid. While a case, I don’t believe, can be made persuasively for Kim Kardashian on the cover of Vogue, there is a lot to be said about Kanye making the cover of Vogue, including  the fact that:

  1. Kanye is a 21 Grammy Award Winning artist.
  2. He is 1 of the 100 Most influential people in the world, at least according to Times Magazine.
  3. He has his own fashion line, albeit heavily criticized.
  4. He has studied fashion and the arts, formally.
  5. Kanye has a shoe line, and so many brand endorsements, indicating both his net worth and influence.
  6. He is an artist at heart and stays in an eccentric space often, keeping many guessing what he will do next.
  7. He  knows how to create and sell controversy.

With all the above that Kanye embodies, convicted criminal or not, do you really think in this day and age of declining sales and the extinction of many print and even digital fashion publications,  that Anna Wintour would miss the opportunity to leverage such a strong personal and business brand like Kanye West’s?

Heck  the fashion and entertainment world are still trying to figure out how to monetize the digital platforms, even as they watch their traditional business models fall by the way side.

Kanye, for any one, including Anna Wintour, is a sure way to ensure increased revenue and magazine success. 

The question, however, is that while Vogue and Anna may make the money now and sell  this latest  issue globally, has she just lost her credibility among fashion circles; and will what some say is a desperate attempt and caving into sensationalism hurt the brand in the long run? These  questions, among many, are certainly ones that the industry, media and fans will be asking, reporting  and discussing for a while to come.

Now your turn.  What do you think?

Is this a case of brand dilution (weakening of the vogue brand), or just a genius move by Anna Wintour?

-Uduak Oduok

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Ryan Seacrest Kanye Interview (Michelle Obama Can’t Instagram like Kim)

WHAT IS Fashionentlaw™: It is a law blog discussing hot topics in pop culture that arise primarily out of the fashion industry and intersects/ collides with the law.

WHAT I DO: My name is Uduak Oduok and I am a California licensed attorney who helps creatives and business owners sleep better at night by protecting their creativity and reputation, securing their rights, and helping them with the monetization of their intellectual assets.

WHO I WORK WITH: I have counseled a range of clients from musicians, models, actors, actresses, and designers, to diverse business owners in numerous areas of the law including contracts, business law, fashion and entertainment law, copyright, trademark, and intellectual property law. I bring over two decades of first-hand knowledge and experiences that are as diverse as they are deep in the fashion and entertainment industries (modeling, retail, production, public relations, journalism, and publishing). I am an attorney who “gets it” when it comes to resolving legal issues for the fashion and entertainment industries.

INTERESTED IN TALKING TO ME ABOUT LEGAL REPRESENTATION? To arrange a consultation to discuss your case, contact me today at 916-361-6506 or email me directly at (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com).

Full bio: Ms. Uduak Bio/
Twitter @uduaklaw

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