Haute couture spat as Bayanda Khathini sues Sello Medupe for ’copying’ his designs
African haute couture designer Bayanda Khathini is suing Sello Medupe of Scalo Designer for the dress he designed for former Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green.
During her Umembeso ceremony in Cape Town last weekend, Green wore a blue African bride dress with beaded embroidery designed by Medupe.
That didn’t sit well with Khathini, who claims that Medupe stole his designs. Khathini’s lawyers then fired off a letter of demand to Medupe.
“Our client discovered this design infringement when former Miss SA, Tamaryn Green, appeared on social media for her umembeso ceremony. As the creator of his worker, our client has a right to copyright protection of which he does not need to register.
“The protection arises automatically as his work is original and is recorded in a material form,” read a statement from Khathini’s lawyers.
They also claimed that Medupe “copying” Khathini’s work was unlawful and demanded that he issues an apology. They ordered him to remove pictures of Green’s dress from his Instagram account or any social media platform he might have posted the dress.
Khathini’s followers called him out for his behaviour. They were not shy to tell him that his claims were ridiculous.
“Not entirely fair. This is not identical to any design you have done before. The beadwork layout is different. The beads themselves are different. The pattern of the dress is different. The only similarity is evening dress meets traditional (beadwork) design. Maybe the client came with a picture of your dress as an inspiration. But we can’t now say all designers in SA can’t have evening gowns with beadwork bodice because that’s your standard design. Anyway, let’s trust the legal system for a fair ruling,” commented Zikhona Nzakayi.
Another Instagrammer Sim Tshabalala said: “Love your work … however, you are really stretching it to think or state you originated this style of beaded gowns. good luck with your legal demands – one can draw an entire archive of similar styled/created works preceding your birth … so really.”
Medupe has not commented on the matter, nor did he take down the pictures of Green in the dress he designed.
Read the full statement below.
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Kim Chipendu is a columnist for Healthy Organic Lifestyle.