Imagine browsing through your twitter feed and boom, you see a tweet from someone complaining about Zara. At first you think it’s about their ridiculously over-inflated prices. When you look closer you see pictures of what looks like MaXhosa pieces until you read the caption and find out that one is a piece by MaXhosa but the other is a replica by Zara.
Yep! Zara has done it again and this time they’ve stolen from Africa’s rising star designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa, a South African luxury brand . I am utterly annoyed not only because stealing is totally wrong more especially in the creative space but I know it’s not the first time and Zara always wins.
Zara is one of the world’s biggest retail stores . It’s owner Amancio Ortega was named the richest man in the world in 2016. The store has had a lot of cases of artists and brands accusing it of stealing designs. Big brands like Celine and Christian Louboutin have gone head to head with Zara but unfortunately lost . There have been artists also who have accused the retail store of stealing their graphic designs.
So it is not a surprise that they decided to cross over seas this time , and come to Africa to steal. I mean it won’t be the first time that people of that race come to Africa to steal but politics aside ,,, for now . The MaXhosa brand is one of the continent’s most celebrated luxury brands and in the past 3 years, the brand has managed to position itself in the international market.
A-list celebrities have been spotted wearing the brand and that on its own has made it a must have. Which is highly a first because not many ready-to-wear designers from Africa make it that far. International stars like Black Coffee, Alicia Keys and even John Kani of the movie the Black Panther have a few pieces by MaXhosa . So this is an established brand with a good following.
If you are wondering what exactly did the thieves from Zara steal this time, look at the pictures below.
Look at the pictures again. I bet you only see MaXhosa right ? Well there’s only 2 things by MaXhosa here. It’s the cardigan and the other socks. The other pair of socks with Zara on it is what was stolen from MaXhosa and labeled with Zara. They didn’t even attribute it to MaXhosa . The disrespect.
This for starters is a brand that is proudly South African and celebrates the culture of one of South Africa’s tribes , AmaXhosa. So you can understand how distinct the designs are. The designs are unique because they are inspired by a real tribe that Laduma belongs to . A tribe he grew up in and is influenced by . You can’t mistake a MaXhosa design for anything else. That’s how unique it is. I guess this is one of the reasons why it has managed to create a space for itself in the global market. Consumers are always after something new and fresh and that’s what the brand offers.
But no, Zara being the qualified thief it is, a thief that has made billions from the back of other artists’ hard work and creativity , they just had to steal . There’s a huge difference between being inspired by a design and copying and pasting it. This is an insult to MaXhosa and the creative industry as whole . It’s an insult to all those young creatives who work really hard, fighting a system that seeks to exclude them and keep them in the periphery.
If Zara was truly a good guy, they would have asked MaXhosa for a collaboration like they usually do with pop stars. He might not be in the same level as those pop stars but if you can steal from him that means you value his work . The disregard of having a collaboration says a lot about the culture of stealing that Europe has been practicing.
They truly did what they do best . The tragic part is that somehow Zara wins these cases . Lord knows why. So even if MaXhosa has the money to drag them to court, it’ll be wasted expenditure.
I hope they try though. You’ll never know. Sometimes in these cases David does win against Goliath .
It’ll also be unfair to see people go buy those socks at Zara and support them while they can easily go buy from MaXhosa.
The team at MaXhosa must not be silent about this. They must make the noise even if they don’t win the case but they must leverage on it. Dragging Zara will also put the spotlight on MaXhosa and right now any publicity will be good publicity. So much has been stolen from Africans and it must not go any further . The fashion industry steals in the name of inspiration and get away with it. It’s understandable if you visit a village and you take from the traditional wear of the normal people, but the moment you take from an already existing brand, that means you are declaring war.
MaXhosa must drag Zara.
pics : social media