Kylie Jenner’s very own clothing line, Khy, launched on Wednesday — and she’s already winning awards for it.
On Wednesday night, WSJ magazine named the 26-year-old Brand Innovator of the Year at its 13th annual Innovator Awards, held at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Following in the footsteps of her sister Kim Kardashian who received the award in 2021, Kylie took to the stage and made a brief speech in which she thanked the magazine for recognizing the success of her brands — namely Khy, which launched just hours prior.
If you’re unfamiliar with Khy, you’re probably not the only one. In fact, the public only learned of the brand’s existence last week when Kylie teased the venture for the first time in an Instagram post on Oct. 24.
Khy was officially announced in an exclusive story for WSJ magazine the next day, giving fans the opportunity to learn more about the newest KarJenner brand ahead of its imminent launch.
For a bit of context, Khy is a little different to your usual celebrity clothing line. The overarching concept behind the brand is that Kylie will collaborate with different creatives to co-design limited collections inspired by her own personal style.
The first installment — titled “drop 001” — saw Kylie team up with Berlin-based brand Namilia, creating a grungy 12-piece collection dominated by black faux-leather garments, including different dresses and a full-length trench coat.
Leading up to its launch, emphasis was placed on Khy’s lower price point, with WSJ magazine reporting that all pieces from the first drop will be priced under $200. This detail certainly sparked interest among fans, and luckily, they didn’t have to wait long to get their hands on the pieces, which launched on Nov. 1.
So, a day later, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking you’d left it too late to get your hands on anything before they’d all been snatched up by eager shoppers — well, think again.
Aside from those, the entire collection is still available to buy — and in a range of sizes, too.
In one sense, this is a good thing — it presumably means they ordered a sufficient amount of stock to ensure fans don’t lose out on the pieces they were hoping to cop. However, it certainly comes as a stark contrast to KarJenner brand launches of the past.
For example, when Kylie launched her infamous lip kits in 2015, demand was so high that the site crashed and the stock sold out within minutes. These sellout drops became a running theme as Kylie Cosmetics expanded its beauty empire.
As for Khy, it seems precautions were put in place for similar levels of demand. Kylie offered her fans the ability to sign up for early access to prevent missing out on the opportunity to buy their favorite pieces before it’s “too late.”
During an interview with Vogue ahead of the launch, Kylie revealed there’d been a “strong level of interest” in the pre-registration sign-ups, but didn’t divulge specifics. “And lots of engagement on all socials,” she said. “It’s greater than I could have imagined.”
Suffice to say, it’s not extreme to speculate that the first drop may have underperformed, particularly in comparison to the launches of Kylie Cosmetics and Skims — the two most successful KarJenner brands to date.
Interestingly, there are a number of theories as to why this might have been the case — starting with a controversy that came about almost immediately after the brand was announced.
Last week, artist Betsy Johnson — not to be confused with Betsey Johnson — publicly accused Khy of ripping off her new line, PRODUCTS, which also features a lot of strong silhouettes, black leather, and monochrome.
Betsy aired her frustrations in a series of Instagram stories, alleging that she emailed Kylie and her team the “concept and language and a line sheet” for PRODUCTS six months ago.
The designer also shared a photograph of her student loans, telling her followers that she worked her “ass off” to make PRODUCTS a reality. “Like so many other working class kids who bust their ass for expertise they weren't born into to release their ideas,” she wrote.
The copying allegations sparked a ton of conversation online. Although neither Kylie, her team, nor Namilia have publicly commented on the claims.
Elsewhere, people have raised questions about the way the brand was rolled out in the brief window of time between its announcement and launch.
Aside from interviews for WSJ magazine and Vogue, Kylie has largely promoted Khy on Instagram and TikTok, where she boasts hundreds of millions of followers.
She also hosted an intimate dinner party in LA to celebrate the launch of the brand, where her famous friends — including Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner — attended dressed in faux-leather pieces from the first drop.
Interestingly, though, people noticed that Kylie chose to forgo typical promotional methods by not sending out the pieces to social media influencers, as is standard practice with most clothing brands today.
As fans discussed the launch of Khy on TikTok, one user criticized the “horrible marketing,” positing that Kylie could have boosted hype for the first drop by flooding people’s social media algorithms with influencers wearing the pieces.
Another TikTok creator, @jasminedarya, made a video in response to this comment, noting that because Kylie didn’t share the clothes with influencers, customers haven’t actually seen the looks on “real,” non-famous people — only celebrities.
“In a day and age in which people are hypersensitive of people editing photos and, like, all the filters and surgery that people get,” she said, “I don’t get why you wouldn’t send out to influencers — real people that have social followings…and could style them really well and sell their audience on it.”
In the comments section, people speculated possible reasons that Kylie chose not to send out the products, with some suggesting that perhaps it was an attempt to make the line seem more “exclusive” — although this wouldn’t necessarily align with the more accessible price points.
Others wondered if perhaps it might be because Kylie is hoping to generate more “authentic” reviews, writing: “If the product is good, people will advocate for the product in itself.”
However, plenty of fans questioned if she’s perhaps learning from her mistakes, recalling Kylie's last business venture — a failed foray into the world of swimwear with Kylie Swim.
In 2021, Kylie scrapped her highly-anticipated swim line after its first collection was universally slammed for its poor quality and non-inclusive designs. The viral reviews were so scathing that Kylie was called out for her “lack of integrity as a business owner,” for seemingly turning a blind eye to the substandard quality of the products.
Reports at the time claimed that Kylie was deeply “concerned” by the backlash, which stemmed entirely from the power of social media reviews. So, in light of this, it’s possible that she’s wary of using influencer marketing for Khy, as not to risk a repeat of the Kylie Swim scandal.
Away from the product and its marketing, others have raised that maybe Khy’s perceived underperformance is a deeper issue relating to authenticity.
In an age where it seems like every Hollywood A-lister is making business moves on the side, consumers have to carefully decipher between the celebrity brands worth buying into, and those that are mere money grabs.
And because of this, the success of a celeb business venture can be highly dependent on the level of believability that comes with it — i.e., do you believe that the celebrity actually cares about what they’re pushing?
Kylie Cosmetics, for example, came about in a way that made sense to her fans and customers. As a teen, Kylie capitalized on the public fascination with her pout by releasing lip liner and lipstick combinations as lip kits. Kylie was synonymous with her lips and makeup looks, and so the business felt real.
Similarly, for a decade before she launched Skims, Kim was known for her curvaceous figure and made no secret of her love for shapewear when it came to pulling off her red carpet looks. For this reason, there’s an authenticity to Skims that simply can’t be faked.
So, for whatever reason, it seems fans might not be drawing the same organic connections between Kylie and her fashion line — even in spite of her efforts to repackage the “King Kylie” influence that was the driving force behind her power in the 2010s.
Needless to say, it’s obviously hard to make solid judgments about the overall success of a brand that’s barely two weeks old, particularly when we don’t have access to numbers. It’s also highly possible that the hype for Khy will build as the new designer collabs continue to roll out.
Either way, Kylie already has one business empire under her belt. Can she replicate the magic?