Designer accused of copying dress at the Cape Town fashion week

2014-07-30 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A dress shown at the Cape Town fashion week has the designer world abuzz.

Gavin Rajah was accused of copying his design from that of Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad.

Rajah denies the accusation.

Murad’s design was part of his 2013 collection. Rajah’s designs were shown on Thursday at Cape Town fashion week.

Rajah said he created his design independently and was inspired by Japanese themes.

Sim Tshabalala, an event manager in Durban, was one of the first to point out the similarities.

On his Facebook page, Tshabalala placed the two dresses side by side and referred to Rajah’s design as a direct copy. The accusation quickly spread among designers. Rajah has now issued legal documents on Tshabalala.

Tshabalala said he only made a comment and it was not personal. He said it was now up to other designers to decide what they want to do.

Rajah has, meanwhile, opened his studio to anyone who wants to see his design process. But his critics say the similarities are just too many.

Sibongile Mafu tweeted, “Hayibo, Gavin Rajah?!” and added the hottest ticket for fashion week could be found on Google Images.

Chloe Adams wondered on Facebook if the entire debacle was not orchestrated for publicity.

Murad said, through a spokesperson, he has nothing to add to the issue.

At the Design Indaba Expo in March last year, Rajah was also in the spotlight when a Cape Town designer pointed out he also sold the supposedly unique material Rajah had used for a dress. Rajah responded that the technique was not unique but belonged to the public, while the dress was unique.

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