TikTok puts a spotlight on WeWoreWhat influencer Danielle Bernstein

Isabelle Hajek, Staff Writer

On Feb. 24, self-proclaimed “Entrepreneur, designer, founder” and New York Times best-selling author, Danielle Bernstein joined the video-sharing app, TikTok and debuted her first video for her brand “WeWoreWhat.” While TikTok has become a platform where many up-and-coming businesses have begun to thrive, Bernstein’s membership refocused a spotlight on a year-long controversy surrounding her brand.

In her 10 years in the industry, Bernstein has amassed a social media following, with 2.6 million Instagram followers and now, over 30.5 thousand TikTok followers. Her presence on social media has led to multiple modern-day muckrakers exposing her clothing line for exploiting and stealing from small businesses.

In her first video posted to TikTok, Bernstein introduced herself and her journey from a college “street style photographer” to a successful business owner and, most recently, a philanthropist, teasing at what her content would consist of.

Bernstein’s video was immediately met with backlash as users began commenting on and dueting the video with allegations that ranged from copyright infringement to theft. Although portraying the image of a self-made business owner, the videos under the hashtag “#westolewhat,” created in response to Bernstein’s pilot presence on TikTok and dedicated to exposing her many alleged indiscretions, has over 927.9 thousand views.

A now-deleted TikTok of Bernstein shows her lip-syncing to a Cardi B audio: “I want to thank my haters.” Bernstein has since turned off commenting and duets on her videos, and although she has given comments on allegations in the past, she has not done so on this incident.

Recently, WeWoreWhat was called-out by lingerie brand The Great Eros for using their signature packaging paper as a pattern on a swimsuit. Before The Great Eros could sue, Bernstein filed a legal complaint against them, asking the court to recognize that she did not violate Eros’ intellectual property.

“I am an advocated and committed supporter of small businesses, and as an entrepreneur and designer, I hold creative liberty and ownership in the highest regard,” Bernstein said.

Eros countersued WeWoreWhat along with her retailers, Onia, Saks, Shopbop and Carbon 38.

Bernstein has had multiple other controversies related to copyrights in the past. In May 2018, she was accused of stealing designs from multiple different jewelry brands; in March 2020, she was accused of copying Cecilie Bahnsen designs for her new Macy’s fashion line; in July 2020, she was exposed for lying about using a pair of vintage shorts, actually from an Etsy shop, as inspiration; again in July 2020, she stole fashion masks designs from a Latina-owned company after soliciting the company for samples to endorse. Bernstein has also faced criticism after testing positive for COVID-19 in July 2020 and teaching her followers how to hide cellulite.

Despite the negative response to her brand and social media presence, Bernstein has posted a total of 17 videos on her TikTok and 16 Instagram posts, ranging in content including poses to “elevate that mirror pic,” behind the scene looks at her business practices and multiple iterations of fashion tips.