Well, what an interesting Cape Town Fashion Week it has been for the local couture designer. He went from being one of the most anticipated shows of the week, to being the most acclaimed show, and then being the most criticized in about 12 hours or less.
The whole scandal is centred around a single dress, one that to any onlooker who follows the global couture scene would see the resemblance it has to a dress from the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection of Lebanese designer, Zuhair Murad.
If that name does not immediately fill your head with images of beautiful gowns and glittery lace then you might as well just stop reading.
Rajah has defended himself across all the important social media platforms. He also invited anyone that questions his creativity to his studio to view sketches and images of the design process (I personally feel like he was a bit too prepared for the backlash but I might be reading too much into it.)
Aspasia Karras, the editor of Marie Claire magazine, said the situation lies in a “tricky space” and I’d have to agree. Here’s why:
Some are having a difficult time deciphering whether this should be considered as a case of “inspired knock-off” or “blatant copy”.
What’s the difference?
Copies have never been acceptable in fashion because not only is it disrespectful to totally rip-off another one of your peers but it shows the flaws a designer may have from personality, morals to creativity.
Knock-offs are more acceptable, as they’re not exact copies, more like a tweaked copying. For example when Jessica Simpson’s shoe collection bared a lot of similarities to one of Louboutin’s collections she got away with it and made millions.
The way I view it, it’s a copy and many share my view and many are in-turn are angry and disappointed in one of the county’s most talented designers. And as I can see, they are well within their rights to be.
Me? I’m kind of puzzled really. I mean, there is no way he could have thought that he was somehow going to slip this under the radar.
What’s sad is how everyone is focusing on this one dress when the truth is this may have been one of Rajah’s best collections to date.
Here are pictures of both dresses. Decide for yourself: Did he or didn’t he?