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Maxhosa's Laduma on Zara design knock-offs: It's shocking & lacks integrity

A post on social media raised eyebrows as it showed a range of socks being sold at Zara with one of the distinct patterns Maxhosa has come to be known for.

Designer Laduma Ngxokolo. Picture: www.maxhosa.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - Renowned South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo, creator of the Maxhosa fashion brand, has responded to an incident of copyright infringement by global clothing retailer, Zara, saying it is shocking and lacks integrity.

A post on Instagram by Thebe Ikalafeng raised eyebrows as it showed a range of socks being sold at the Spanish chain with one of the distinct patterns Maxhosa has come to be known for.

Ngxokolo tells Eyewitness News that he was first alerted to this earlier this month when shoppers spotted and sent him images from the Zara Sandton City and New York stores.

"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," he says.

Copyright infringement has been an issue in the fashion industry for as long as runways and clothing lines have existed.

"It does happen often, even at a local level, so it's not something new but it shocking when it still does happen," Ngxokolo says.

He adds this also speaks to the lack of respect given to African designs and designers by the global industry.

"We also are innovators in the work, who create the credible and globally competitive product with high quality. So at times, it is not seen as though what we create is original, more so is seen as generic hence most brands would think to copy with ease."

Maxhosa has since consulted with Shane Moore and Muhammad Patel from Moore Attorneys, one of Africa’s
leading IP law firms who are handling the matter on Ngxokolo's behalf.

They have sent a letter to Zara's parent company alerting them of the copyright infringement and Maxhosa's demands.

Ngxokolo has also cut ties with Zara and stopped purchasing from the retailer, but he says it's up to customers to decide what they want to do about the situation.

“I think that it is the peoples’ choice as to what they would want to do, as a form of support. I do think my ultimate form of support is that our loyal clients continue to support and share what we stand for to others. It is up to them whether they continue to buy from Zara or not. But as a normal consumer, not as Maxhosa and not as Laduma, I have taken the choice to discontinue putting my money up to support them and raising their revenue.”

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