Truce in dress plagiarism spat?

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Copy of Copy of CT GAVIN RAJAH 4258 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Fashion designer Gavin Rajah with the dress which a Durban-based designer claims Rajah plagiarised. In the background is assistant designer Stephen van Eeden. Picture: Ian Landsberg

Cape Town - Fashion designer Gavin Rajah and Durban fashion events co-ordinator Sim Tshabalala have called a truce until they meet in person next week.

Last Friday, Tshabalala posted a picture on Instagram of a dress from Rajah’s latest collection next to a near-identical dress from Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad’s Spring/ Summer 2013 collection.

Rajah said he would never have imitated Murad’s dress, even if he had seen it before. He believed Tshabalala has had a gripe with him for some time and said he was disturbed by the “hateful” way he handled the situation.

The designs were similar, Rajah agreed, but he would never have risked his reputation by imitating another designer’s work.

Rajah said on Wednesday that he and Tshabalala had spoken on the phone and agreed to meet in person after their public social media battle following Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town.

He alleged he had been trying to speak to Tshabalala since Thursday’s catwalk show.

“I have opened my studio doors to everyone to see for themselves,” said Rajah.

Despite the fact that Rajah sought legal advice against Tshabalala, who, in turn, had been advised by lawyers not to speak out, the two have spoken and arranged a meeting next week. They have also agreed, until then, not to make further public statements about the incident on social media.

Rajah said he is “tired of this thing”, but committed to being cordial and “keeping it professional”.

“I’m trying to be a gentleman and I’ve agreed to chat to him,” Rajah said, adding that he does not want the situation dragging on longer than it has to.

Before the truce, both parties were vocal on social media, slinging insults at each other.

Tshabalala also posted a second picture of a dress on the Golden Globes red carpet which he alleged Rajah had copied, with just the fabric and necklines having been changed.

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Cape Times

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