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Is it possible for two designers to have the exact same idea? Gavin Rajah faces plagiarism allegations

Everyone wants to know – if it is not plagiarism, how did it happen?

A lot of people still have not managed to lift their jaws from the floor since an image surfaced of a Gavin Rajah dress that was featured in his Autumn/Winter Collection which he showcased at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Cape Town over the weekend. The reason? The similarity of the dress to one in Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad’s Spring/Summer Collection of 2013.

The person who called him out on these similarities was Simphiwe Tshabalala, a producer of fashion events in Durban, who was in attendance. He shared images of both dresses on Instagram and shared the links on other social media, which eventually spread like wildfire.

Simphiwe Tshabalala

Just in, Gavin Rajah had his lawyers contact Simphiwe Tshabalala about these plagiarism allegations and released a statement on his Facebook page saying that he “did not copy Mr Zuhair Murad’s design” and that it was his “own original creation inspired by Japanese woodblock printing.” He also calls out Simphiwe on why he did not approach him and raise his concerns as they were at another event together.

Some media industry peeps have also shared their thoughts on twitter while a large amount of fashion industry people have kept quiet. One such person is Marie Claire editor Aspasia Karras, who in her online editor’s column said that “there is nothing new under the sun and in many ways fashion thrives on a cyclical mood that seems to strike all designers at once… Straight-up copying is nothing new in fashion.”

Gain Rajah vs Zuhair Murad

It will be interesting to see how Gavin and his team spin this. For now, they are inviting people to their studio to show how their design process works. I’m not sure how this is going to help.

Check out what some media peeps had to say on twitter HERE.

Read Aspasia Karas’ editor’s note HERE.

Check out Gavin Rajah’s statement as well as images of the letter sent to Simphiwe Tshabalala by Gavin’s lwayers HERE.

***Appeared on Just Curious

Article written by:

Richmond Sajini is a musician and media entrepreneur in the public relations, television, radio and retail spaces in South Africa. He studied Public Relations and Communication at the University of Johannesburg and has worked on brands such as Coca Cola, Tsogo Sun, Heineken as well as the South African National Roads Agency. He has been told to shut up many times by people who don’t understand that he is in love with the sound of his own voice. For this reason he decided to start his own blog where he would share his thoughts and experiences without inhibition. Visit his blog, and follow him on Twitter @richmondsajini.


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