Delhi designer cries copycat, brand denies allegations

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Designer Anupama Dayal claims that her motif has been copied by apparel brand W for Women.

Designer Anupama Dayal claims that her motif has been copied by apparel brand W for Women.

Delhi-based fashion designer Anupama Dayal took to social media a couple of days ago to vent out her anguish over high-street retail womenswear brand, W for Women, use motifs and prints on their collection which she claimed were designed by her after painstaking research. “It is hurtful to see years of research and creative energy being copied like this. The brand W has blatantly copied some of my signature designs. The Ao print which we developed with years of work has just been copied (see pic). Those who know me and my design methodology, (from concept to how it finally translates into a garment) would know how I have made personal visits to Nagaland and lived with the tribes to birth this collection. The other motif is Bukhara, which is another signature print. We work with old techniques of hand block prints to create a piece of wearable art sometimes making just enough to sustain our artisans and women’s empowerment initiative. Cheap copied screen prints not only dilute the name of the brand but take away from the hands that have made it. We are a small artisanal company with budget constraints but a sense of serious social responsibility. It is devastating to see a large retailer just copy our signature prints like this,” the designer posted. We spoke to the designer and she reiterated her claim that the designs were all developed by her and how plagiarism undermines the sensitivity of the creative industry.

Designer Anupama Dayal claims that her motif has been copied by apparel brand W for Women.

“I am very disturbed by the similarity of the designs . My attempt has always been to revitalise ancient craft forms and motifs of the Indian subcontinent and other culture rich regions. I am deeply saddened when others heartlessly take a short cut to these designs and manufacturing process thereby undermining everything that is ethical in the name of commerce,” she added, confirming that she’s planning legal action.

W for Women responded to Anupama Dayal’s allegations by showing differences in the motifs.

The brand in question – W – however, strongly rubbished Dayal’s allegation, with evidence of the origin of the motifs. “We have tremendous respect for artists and designers , who are the backbone of our business. We are also a conscientious company and we respect third party intellectual property rights. W is a home grown brand with a team of dedicated designers who understand the nuances around originality. The print in contention – Suzaani print – is something W has been using for many years now. We had infact used the same in our collection way back in 2011 (see pics), so where is the question of copying from Ms Dayal’s collection? Suzaani is a type of embroidered and decorative tribal textile made in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other central Asian countries. The motifs and patterns used in our collection are different from what Ms Dayal has designed. In fact, details and intricacies of the Suzaani motifs can be clearly established from the book Silk and Cotton written by Susan Meller. It is a traditional motif and we believe copyright on the same is not valid,” said the spokesperson from the brand.