An Instagram post by brand ambassador Thebe Ikalafeng questions design house Zara for selling socks with print patterns obviously similar to the designs of local designer Laduma Ngxokolo.
Ikalafeng questions intellectual property theft as the photo of Zara-branded socks in his post appear to be similar to Ngxokolo’s distinctive Xhoso inspired patterns.
Ngxokolo issued a statement after the spotted similarities and said they were alerted of the design house Zara copying one of their signature patterns.
“These patterns were appropriated and reproduced as part of their sock range which they shared as new in their best sellers on their online store.
“Their sock range resembles our Khanyisa Cardigan which was launched in March 2014 at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg. The cardigan is still available on our online store and has been on runways globally, the piece is still one of our best sellers.”
The statement continues to say the socks have been spotted in Zara outlets in the UK, New York and locally at the Zara outlet in Sandton.
Ngxokolo’s team is taking legal action.
“We consulted with Shane Moore and Muhammad Patel from Moore Attorneys, one of Africa’s leading IP law firms who are handling the matter on our behalf. They have since sent a letter to the parent company alerting them of the copyright infringement and our demands.
“We have taken such steps so as to avoid our works being appropriated and adapted without our consent or permission. Copyright infringement is a matter that we take seriously and fully aware of our intellectual property rights.
“We would like to thank the clients who have silently sent us proof of such infringements as they allowed us means to act. The debate as to whether we shall win the case or not remains, we stand by our decision to fight such a case. Thus, we have sent our letter of demand and we await their reply,” the statement concluded.
There were reactions on Twitter.