Spot the difference: Zara accused of stealing local brand MaXhosa's design

24 April 2018 - 15:40 By Staff reporter
From left: MSock 3.1 by Maxhosa by Laduma, and men's socks from Zara.
From left: MSock 3.1 by Maxhosa by Laduma, and men's socks from Zara.
Image: @thebeikalafeng/Instagram

Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of award-winning brand advisory firm, Brand Leadership, has called fashion retailer Zara out on social media for what he says is "intellectual property theft" of a print by local label MaXhosa by Laduma.

Laduma Ngxokolo, the designer behind MaXhosa by Laduma, is hailed as one of South Africa's brightest sartorial stars. He's famed for his contemporary knitwear creations, which feature vibrant prints inspired by traditional Xhosa beadwork. 

In an Instagram post, Ikalafeng said that Zara had "shamelessly copied the design" of the pattern that appears on MaXhosa by Laduma's Khanyisa cardigan and MSOCK3.1 socks on one of their products.

He called for the local designer to take action, saying: "As a global #African I understand that inspiration is global and no one has universal rights, but theft on the other hand should be universally condemned.

"We appreciate that Africa’s rich culture is now ‘en vogue’ but not at all costs. But our protected intellectual property rights should be respected as much as we respect that of other global brands. 

"#Maxhosa and all Africans should not take this lying down."

Social media users were quick to weigh in on the appreciation versus appropriation debate. Some criticised Zara, others pointed out that they're not the only retail brand to reference other designer's work in their ranges:

Business Insider South Africa reports that the local fashion brand is pursuing legal action against Zara for copyright infringement.


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