Johannesburg- A fierce war has torn two designers apart over a dress that was worn by former Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green during her umembeso ceremony.
Green and her fiancé Ze Nxumalo celebrated their umembeso ceremony, where Tamaryn dazzled in an African modern traditional dress, which later caused a stir between the two designers.
An upcoming fashion designer Bayanda Khathini of Bayanda Khathini Clothing has accused the designer of Green’s dress, Sello Medupe of Scalo Designer of plagiarism.
“People were congratulating me for designing and making the dress which Miss Green, wore and I was so confused because I never did such. That was when it was bought to my attention that someone had used my design,” said Khathini.
A post shared by S C A L O® (@scalodesigner)
“I then went to check Miss Green’s social media and I discovered that she had not tagged the designer, I have no clue what their agreement was. As soon as the dress gained momentum and everyone started complimenting it, I saw it on Scalo Designer’s social media pages.”
Khathini says he then immediately alerted people on social media that he never designed or made the dress.
Khathini told Sunday World that he felt it was only fair that he contact Medupe and ask him why he had done what he did.
Below is a dress Khathini had designed for Durban Gen actress Nelisiwe Sibiya, for her on-screen wedding. Khathini claims that Scalo Designer had copied this design when creating the dress for the former Miss South Africa.
A post shared by Bayanda Khathini (@bayanda_khathini_)
A post shared by S C A L O® (@scalodesigner)
The situation escalated to the point where Khathini had threatened to seek legal action if Medupe did not own up to his mess.
Khathini and his lawyers have issued out a letter of demand, which Sunday World is in possession of and has seen.
In the letter of demand, issued by Vuyo Manisi Attorneys, Khathini is accusing Medupe of Copyright infringement and furthermore states that he is aware of his intellectual property rights.
The letter states that Bayanda has also resulted in suffering financial harm as some of his clients have terminated their contracts with him as they fear that the public will assume that their dresses were inspired by the copied dress worn by former Miss South Africa.
The lawyer’s letter demands that Scalo Designer confirms in writing, that they will desist from copying Bayanda’s work without his permission. Offer an apology to Bayanda for copying his work. Removing Bayanda’s copied work from Scalo Designer’s Instagram page and on any social media platform that Scalo Designer is associated with.
The letter went on to state that if Scalo Designer does not comply with their demands, an urgent High Court interdict will be instituted, as well as a punitive cost order that will be sought against Scalo Designer.
Medupe then referred Sunday World to his lawyer, once the letter of demand had been sent to him.
Medupe’s legal representative, Vusi Suwela of Suwela Attorneys, said, “Our client has no comment in regards to the above and note that we are taking all necessary legal steps to assist our client.
Sunday World reached out to Sumaiya De’ Mar, a fashion lawyer, advocate, and director at SA Fashion Law to shed some further light on the matter.
De’ Mar told Sunday World, “In South Africa, the copyright law protects a person’s right to own their creative products. There are various forms of intellectual property law: Copyrights, Trademarks, Patents, and Design Rights. Copyright Law protects the original works of artists, authors, musicians, designers. Copyright regulates the exploitation of ‘cultural goods’, such as drawings, paintings, art, photography, and in this case design.”
De’ Mar further said, “One cannot protect an idea for a dress, but once designed, it is the design of the dress is protected. Independent development is not infringement. It should be noted that when two people come up with a similar design independently of each other, the law protects both designs. However, if there is a dispute then the courts will look at the degree of differences as opposed to the similarities.”
“In South Africa, there is no ‘blanket test’ for copyright infringement. Each case will be decided on its own merits,” she further added.
Watch De’ Mar talking about fashion law in South Africa below when she appeared on the
Attempts to obtain comments from Green were not successful at the time of publishing.
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