The organisation says it has “noted with dismay the unauthorized replication by Spanish fashion retailer Zara, of one of our brightest fashion design star’s work.”
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Social media has since been abuzz after an Instagram post by Thebe Ikalafeng went viral.
Appropriation or appreciation? I’d say this is just daylight @maxhosa intellectual property theft by @zara. There’s a big difference between taking inspiration and illegal expropriation. #Maxhosa designed and launched this #Khanyisa cardigan and sox (slide left) range globally 2014. In 2018 @zara shamelessly copied the design as is and put in retail in earlier this month. 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. If they can do this to a relatively well known brand like @maxhosa you can imagine what they’ve been doing to lesser known designers with little resources or recourse. Everybody in Design and retail knows it’s the foundation of Zara to replicate and sell quickly - and perhaps apologize. Fast fashion straight from the (others’) runway is how there’re fashioned. But it does not mean we all have to accept it. We should all stand up and reject such blatant intellectual property expropriation and theft. #ThebeOnBrands
The supposed copying of a local design is not the only issue Proudly SA has with the Spanish company.
The organisation says that it has been applying pressure on the international retailer to procure locally-manufactured clothes.
"Currently, 100% of their stock is made outside of South Africa. If other retailers can completely revise their percentage of local versus overseas goods, so can Zara."