This article has been edited and was first published on April 25, 2018.
What happens when you discover one of your most popular and best-selling designs has been copied by one of the global fashion retailers?
You consult copyright and intellectual property lawyers to find the best recourse.
That’s exactly what renowned South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo, creator of the Maxhosa fashion brand did.
After patrons notified him of a copyright infringement by Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara, he immediately knew what to do.
“We consulted with Shane Moore and Muhammad Patel from Moore Attorneys, one of Africa’s leading IP law firms who are handling the matter on our behalf. They have since sent a letter to the parent company alerting them of the copyright infringement and our demands. We have taken such steps so as to avoid our works being appropriated and adapted without our consent or permission,” he said on the company’s website.
Ngxokolo said he was first alerted to the copyright infringement earlier this month when their patrons saw the company’s signature pattern used on the Khanyisa Cardigan on Zara’s range of socks.
“The first thought was that it lacked integrity as they did not even modify the patterns, they had copied straight from patterns I had used for my collections, most notably the Khanyisa cardigan,” Ngxokolo told Eyewitness News.
The Khanyisa Cardigan was launched in March 2014 at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg. It is quite a popular cardigan worn even by celebrities such as Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz.