Exercising Nepotism: A Look at Kendall Jenner Being Named Fashion Icon of the Decade

THE 2015 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS(r) - The “2015 American Music Awards,” which will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 22 at 8:00pm ET on ABC. (Image Group LA/ABC) KENDALL JENNER

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’, Edmund Burke 1770.

Ok this may seem a tad far when describing the, apparently, unstoppable and ever growing reign of the infamous Kardashian clan. I’m not saying that the Kardashian’s are evil, well not totally, but I won’t pretend I wasn’t completely blown away by the fact Kendall Jenner, you know the boring one that does the same face in all her pictures, was named Fashion Icon of the Decade – nearly choked on my coco pops when I read about it.

Despite the fact ten years ago she was 11 years old, the annual Fashion Media Awards seemed to perceive she is at the forefront of making trends. Before I allow myself to go on a tirade about why this is wrong, it would only be fair to look into why they would have picked her. When defending their decision, The Daily Front Row argued:

“We’re living in a digital decade and Kendall is the ultimate style influencer. The digital generation, more than ever, turns to social media to learn what’s next and Kendall has 83 million devoted Instagram followers, many of whom emulate her style. Kendall has also captured the hearts of the leading fashion magazines, photographers, and brands. A fashion icon is someone who influences the look of a generation and Kendall has been making a huge impact on their style. It’s noteworthy that fashion bible Vogue has called her the breakout model of her generation and put her on the cover of their September issue in 2016.”

Indeed, Miss Jenner boasts 83 million Instagram followers, she had the most liked picture on the social media platform until she was unseated by Beyoncé announcing her pregnancy. She, of course, has modelled for every designer under the sun. Thus it can be argued that as a model she wears, not makes the latest trends, and due to her massive social media following people want to emulate her. And she has a clothing line with her sister, Kylie, creatively entitled ‘Kendall and Kylie’ which, supposedly, sells the sisters personally designed clothing line for young adults and has 4.7 million followers on Instagram.

And yet, along with there being far more fashion forward celebrities deserving of this accolade – I’ll get to that later, her clothing line has been continuously barraged with claims that the sisters have stolen ideas from other designers, attempted shameless cultural appropriation and that they illegally used the images of music legends. I mean this isn’t really surprising, all of the sisters seem to get accused of being unoriginal in their designs on the daily, from Khloe and those glittering bodysuits to Kylie and her camo-print pieces (http://www.teenvogue.com/story/kylie-jenner-khloe-kardashian-stealing-black-designers). For my piece about the overall fakery of the Kardashian’s follow the link: http://cubmagazine.co.uk/2017/09/in-a-time-of-kardashians-be-a-patsy/.

So, the fashion icon of the decade steals all her fashion ideas? Right, that makes sense.

Her achievement is made even more questionable when you look at previous winners of the award – the renowned photographer, Mario Testino and Hearst’s Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles. These people create and make the iconic fashion trends in our culture, Miss Jenner is only wearing them because she’s a model and she is told to wear them, you really think she still picks her outfits out in the morning?


Ok, so if it wasn’t her who would it be this year? Well, A$AP Rocky and Rihanna were names on the table, both are widely known for pushing fashion into new directions. To look specifically at Rihanna, she has her Fenty Puma empire, which ranges from shoes, to clothes to make up – she is said to be heavily involved in the entire process. She also uses her line to promote her Clara Lionel Foundation which supports people around the world, her daring fashion sense is constantly discussed and she is always applauded with her innovative ensembles at the Met Gala balls, as seen above. Oh, and by the way, she’s one of the most famous singers in history, has won numerous awards and has a career spanning a decade.

Even if you were to look at other models to see if they were more worthy, it wouldn’t be hard to find one. Cara Delevingne, remember her? Before she became a starry eyed actress, in the early 2010s she was the ‘It Girl’, she was quirky, her style and personality was at polar opposites with the conventional model look. I mean because of her big eyebrows, eyebrows as a whole became the biggest trend amongst women. Or maybe, Ashley Graham? She’s fighting stereotypes on what is deemed as beautiful and her face in the spotlight is breaking down the barriers on size, she also has her own fashion line for curvier women.

So how did the internet react? Very simple answer, badly. Here are some snap shots of my favourite reactions:

Twitter user, Ginger Winger, was angry and pointed to nepotism, “Oh please! What about @NaomiCampbell or @CindyCrawford you know real models who got to the top due to hard work not who mummy is. Pathetic.”

Another Twitter user, Journuls, was confused, “Kendalll’s outfits are nice and I always look forward to seeing what she wears but like fashion icon of the decade?? Idk about that”

And my personal favourite:


To sum up, the general consensus was that, although Kendall does dress well, with the amount of money she has and her occupation it’s not exactly hard. She’s boring in her style and modelling, in comparison to far more suitable candidates and she only got the award because her mum must have done a deal with the devil.

So, if we boil it down, is it because she’s part of one of the most famous families in pop culture that she has gained this recognition? Has the Kardashian name been elevated to the status similar to the Divine Right of Kings of the Middle Ages? Because of their surname and family, they are now entitled to the best in every aspect of the business, even if they themselves fall quite flat.


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