- Danielle Bernstein is denying claims that she copied another brand’s jewelry design.
- California retailer Coco Belle said on Instagram that it “looks like” Bernstein copied its necklace.
- A WeWore What rep adamantly denied the claims to Insider, noting the necklace was inspired by an estate sale purchase.
Danielle Bernstein, the Instagram influencer and entrepreneur behind fashion label WeWoreWhat, is again denying allegations that she copied the work of a smaller designer in launching her first jewelry collection.
Bernstein formally announced the jewelry venture last week, alongside a photo of a necklace, which looked like an equal-sided cross adorned with beads. But a post featuring a similar necklace, shared two days prior by the Southern California retailer Coco Belle, fueled speculation online that Bernstein copied its design.
Bernstein and her team adamantly deny these claims. A lawyer for WeWore What told Insider that she was inspired by an estate sale purchase from 2021, and provided an image receipt of her wearing it then. However, fellow influencers and Reddit snarkers have been quick to cast blame because it’s not the first time Bernstein has been at the center of similar controversies.
Speculation first started swirling when the brand Coco Belle respondents to an Instagram comment about whether WeWore What copied its jewelry design last Tuesday.
“Yes, looks like it. She asked me for a free one last year and I declined because we are a small business and want to make sure everyone has a one of a kind piece,” the company wrote.
Since, several creators have taken Coco Belle’s side. New York City-based lifestyle Instagrammer Hattie Kolp shared a story last week urging fans to buy the necklace from the smaller retailer instead. TikToker Hannah Stella then shared a viral video alluding to the Bernstein and Coco Belle scandals to explain why “dupe culture,” or a bigger brand stealing the designs of a smaller brand, is problematic.
When it reached about the allegation, Coco Belle owner Pearl Brouillet told Insider over Instagram DM that she was “very concerned about involving myself in any dialogue surrounding Danielle.”
“I’m aware of the recent dialogue surrounding one of my designs that has since appeared elsewhere,” Brouillet said. “I prefer to maintain the integrity of our brand, and the legacy my father founded in the pearl industry, by focusing on creating timeless pieces for clients who value authenticity.”
“We extend our support to the talented small businesses creating unique and genuine goods, and appreciate those in positions of influence who use their platform for the good of others,” she added.
Bernstein’s team, however, is denying any wrongdoing. A lawyer for WeWoreWhat, Robert Salame, told Insider that the label “did not copy, use, or reproduce any artwork belonging to Coco Belle.”
Salame sent Insider a receipt from the Connecticut estate sale where Bernstein said he sourced the piece in question. The receipt shows Bernstein paid $5,400 for the item on May 21, 2021. Salame also shared photos of Bernstein wearing the necklace in May 2021.
“No one was involved in the design process, in any way, copied or otherwise drew inspiration for the WeWore What Design from the Coco Belle design,” Salame said in an email statement.
Despite her team’s pushback in this instance, the immense and immediate backlash against Bernstein online is largely due to the fact that she has been repeatedly accused of copying fellow designers that date back to 2018.
Over the last five years, Bernstein has been accused of copying designs for a WeWore What dress and skirt, a COVID-era mask, and a pair of tan shorts.
Most recently, she was accused of copying a dress from the indie brand We Are Kin by that brand’s founder, Ngoni Chikwengere, who also claimed that Bernstein had reached out asking for a sample of the piece. Bernstein denied the allegations.
“I’m fed up with this false narrative being spread about me stealing designs when I have time after time proven each accusation false,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.