Gavin Rajah in another copycat drama

2015-03-09 12:31

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Cape Town fashion designer Gavin Rajah is being accused of stealing another designer’s work – for the third time in two years.

The garment at the centre of the latest controversy brewing in fashion circles is a dress shown by Rajah at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Joburg last week.

It appears to be an exact replica of UK designer Han Chong’s dress known as the Liliana, just in different colours.

Designer Gavin Rajah's dress on the left and UK designer Han Chong’s dress known as the Liliana on the right. Picture: Simon Deiner - SDR photo

While Rajah opted for an all-white frock as opposed to the original blue and grey dress, photos indicate that all other aspects of the dress are a carbon copy of the Liliana. Rajah’s show was billed as one of the highlights of fashion week this year, attracting big names and big applause.

At first, speculation on social media wondered whether Rajah had been copied by Chong or vice versa.

But then photos of Reese Witherspoon wearing the original Liliana dress emerged – taken in November last year at a charity luncheon in Los Angeles.

Rajah's dress on the right and Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad's on the left

This new plagiarism scandal comes just a year after Rajah was accused of copying a dress by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad.

City Press called Rajah this morning for a response.

“No, not interested. This is a tired old story. Have a party with it,” he snapped, quickly cutting off the conversation.

Pressed for a response to the accusations, the glamour designer and event organiser called them “nonsense” and hung up the phone.

ORIGINAL: Reese Witherspoon wore the Liliana to an event in November last year

He never denied having copied Chong’s dress, which is available at several online stores including UK retailer Selfridges. It has been on the market for some time, with stock being replenished and new sizes being added to the list to meet the high demand.

In 2013, City Press reported on claims by Cape Town designer Paul van Zyl that Rajah’s award-winning “pebble dress”, which drew on the unique use of ostrich skin, had been plagiarised.

Responding to the Murad controversy a year ago, Rajah denied copying the dress, saying that he was disappointed by the whole situation and would “never do Fashion Week again”.

Read more about Rajah's copycat allegations here

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