Calling out alleged plagiarism on online platforms is nothing new, and Indian designers have been taking the social media course to voice grievances since last year. And, this time around, the parties at logger heads are senior Goa-based designer Wendell Rodricks, and Mumbai-based celeb favourite Payal Khandwala, who has also been mentored by the former.
A couple of days back, Rodricks posted a picture on Instagram and captioned it: “At a time when the fashion industry is reeling with demonetisation and GST, it is deplorable when a person one taught, mentored, befriended and got into LFW should resort to such blatant copying. Sorry… but since 1995, have been doing this pleating with innovation but now since it affects our business I am forced to call this out.” The picture Rodricks shared included his creation and that of the alleged ‘copy-er’, Khandwala. The design in question? More a technique — the art of pleating, which includes strategic folding and tucking of fabric.
When we asked Rodricks about his accusation, he said: “Someone posted the images and I found them truly too close for comfort. In a country that takes years or decades to complete more serious cases, I don’t want to resort to a legal case. Social media shaming will discourage other young wannabes from taking the easy way out and strive to spend more time on creativity.”
However, Khandwala calls the accusation ‘confusing’. “Besides the difference in garment construction, we had produced our particular garment well over a year (ours was in shown for SS ’16 and his AW’17) before his was even photographed. During which time it was showcased in our look book, and worn by clients and celebrities. So, how would it be physically possible to copy something from the future? Also, how does one claim ownership over a universal texture or process, unless it has been patented, which is clearly not the case? It is akin to saying that an individual has ownership over the use of block-printing! We are in conversation with our lawyers and advisers and are evaluating our next course of action.”