Tuesday 27, Oct 2020, Delhi (India)
If you’re a fashion enthusiast updated with the hot new trends and commercial controversies in the fashion world, plagiarism wouldn’t come as a surprise to you. In the age of fast-fashion, designers feel the need to be innovative and creative every season. As such, some fashion houses resort to blindly copying aka plagiarizing designers Rahul Mishra. They have made it their business to claw out the copycats and their plagiarized creations.
Inspiration or Plagiarism
There’s a fine line between being inspired by a designer, and blatantly copying their creations. High-street brands like W, H&M, Mango, Zara, Forever21, Vero Moda, United Colors of Benetton, Marks & Spencer and more, are known to “draw inspiration” from luxury designer labels. Indian fashion designers like Rohit Bal, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anita Dongre are calling out copycats on social media and are getting a patent for every couture design they put on the ramp. One such controversy arose when top Indian designer Rahul Mishra accused a popular high-street brand of copying one of his designs.
Big Brands Plagiarism
The Denmark based clothing company – ‘Bestsellers’ that own brands like Vero Moda, Only and Jack & Jones was the culprit. Rahul Mishra says that he found out about the plagiarism when a friend walked into a Vero Moda store at a Delhi mall and spotted a ‘lookalike’ of one of his designs.
After his friend told Mishra about the lookalike, he looked up the brand’s website and found the same design online. It was a white jumpsuit with ruffles on the sleeves. Mishra had showcased this design in October 2016 at Paris Fashion Week (it was his Spring/Summer 2017 collection). The entire look was copied, although it was a very poor rip-off since they used a print pattern instead of a hand-embroidery. The fabric quality was also not up to the mark. These multi-national brands are unable to replicate this quality due to the high volume of products that are produced.
The designer’s team sent an official legal notice to the brand and has been expecting a reply ever since. Rahul Mishra has been in talks with his lawyers about their next step. He personally feels ‘extremely sick and tired’ of people copying his designs, as mentioned in a media report. However, this wasn’t a boutique or a retail chain plagiarizing his work, but a brand with a huge global presence. This not only results in financial losses but also results in a loss of credibility and goodwill.
Mishra later added, “Any of our clients, who must have paid a price for the original design will feel cheated when they see a cheap knock-off! I spent INR 2-5 crore the very year in showcasing that collection in Paris and when something like this happens, it really disturbs you. As designers, we do collaborations with fashion brands. Copying design is just not acceptable.”
A member from Rahul Mishra’s legal team added on to this matter, “As per Section 15.2 of the Copyright Act. Any product designed or artistic expression showcased in a public domain with the purpose of limited edition production (not more than 50 pieces) gets copyrighted by the creator/designer/inventor.” They have only produced around 15 hand-embroidered pieces of the particular outfit that was copied and have shipped it worldwide. Their designs are high-fashion luxury products, which take years before being introduced to the high-street market. Vero Moda selling its high luxury design at a high-street price is unacceptable!
Re-invention is the biggest strength of fashion. If you can’t keep evolving, then you eventually run out of business.