Local fashion folks have their haute couture panties in a bunch over allegations that SA fashion guru Gavin Rajah copied the dress design of Lebanese designer, Zuhair Murad. Now it’s not uncommon in the fashion world for designs to be similar, but given the unique appearance of the dress in question it’s gonna be pretty tough for Rajah to explain how this is pure coincidence.
Zuhair Murad’s dress from his 2013 spring/summer collection is on the left and the Rajah dress from his latest 2014 autumn/winter collection is on the right. Rajah has responded to the allegations by saying that his design “is my own original creation inspired by Japanese woodblock printing”.
Rajah revealed the creation at Cape Town fashion week over the weekend.
His full response:
“I did not copy Mr Zuhair Murad’s design, my design is my own original creation inspired by Japanese woodblock printing. The Japanese inspired theme is visble through the entire collection. I have created the design independently from inspiration sourced by Japanese themes, ranging from the rising sun to Japanese fans. The entire design process has been my own efforts in labour. I welcome you into my studio to view the creative process that lead to this design.” [9lives]
Marie Claire editor, Aspasia Karras, had this to say about ‘copying’ being a grey area in fashion.
“It is a tricky space. What is disappointing in the current debate surrounding the Gavin Rajah Summer 2014 collection with specific reference to the Zuhair Murad lookalike dress is that there is no reason for Mr Rajah to be venturing into this territory. He has demonstrated his ample skills for original and technically superior workmanship over many years, and I personally admire and delight in his work and his flair, so I am baffled and saddened that this ‘lookalike’ situation has happened and I am sure he has a very good explanation.” [MC]
Mr Rahaj…you got some splainin to do.