Spot the dif­fer­ence. Can’t? Here’s why!

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Ak­shay Kaushal

That in the nar­row lanes of Chandni Chowk you can find cheap rip-offs of cou­ture out­fits by well-known de­sign­ers, is known to Del­hi­ites. But as the menace reached the Cap­i­tal’s bou­tique hub Shah­pur Jat, de­signer Reynu Taan­don, whose cou­ture show­stop­per was be­ing sold at less than half the price at a store, had to re­sort to le­gal ac­tion. In a first of sorts, a Delhi court or­dered a raid at the store sell­ing repli­cas of Taan­don’s cre­ations and sealed the out­fits, in­di­cat­ing that In­dian de­sign­ers might be on their way to fi­nally tak­ing ac­tion against bla­tant copy­right in­fringe­ment in fash­ion. “A friend in­formed me that one of my best-sell­ing anarkali lehen­gas priced at R1.9 lakh was be­ing sold in Shah­pur Jat for R70,000. I didn’t be­lieve it ini­tially and sent some­one to check. The piece on dis­play wasn’t just a copy, it was the ex­act same out­fit,” says Taan­don, who then filed a suit seek­ing per­ma­nent in­junc­tion re­strain­ing in­fringe­ment of copy­right, pass­ing-off and pay­ment of dam­ages against the store sell­ing the out­fit. On Wed­nes­day, the court or­dered the lo­cal com­mis­sioner to take ac­tion. While Ab­hi­lasha Bharal, the owner of the Shah­pur Jat store, Atara, re­fused our re­quest for com­ment, the de­signer fra­ter­nity hailed the ac­tion. “It is the sheer lack of cre­ativ­ity that leads to th­ese store-own­ers stoop­ing to the level of repli­cat­ing a de­signer’s col­lec­tion,” says Suneet Varma. “It’s great that some­one fi­nally took the step of tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against those who copy de­signer out­fits,” says de­signer Rina Dhaka.

Ev­ery sin­gle piece of a cou­ture col­lec­tion takes a lot of ef­fort. It is painful to see some­one copy and sell it for cheap


She adds that be­ing over­worked, most de­sign­ers do not find time to take le­gal ac­tion. “Copy­ing hap­pens all the time but what doesn’t know what to do about it. Ev­ery­one knows that the drape kur­tas are our sig­na­ture style. But we see so many oth­ers copy­ing asym­met­ri­cal and draped kur­tas,” says Nikhil Mehra of the Shan­tanu-Nikhil duo. The cus­tomers don’t mind the hun­dreds of small stores of­fer­ing cheaper ver­sions of the clothes. “I al­ways wanted a Man­ish Mal­ho­tra or Sabyasachi Lehnga for my wed­ding but there’s no way I can af­ford to spend lakhs on it. Stores in mar­kets such as Shah­pur Jat and Karol Bagh al­most ex­act copies of th­ese lehn­gas for not even half the price,” says Shruti Sethi, who is get­ting mar­ried in April and cur­rently on a trousseau buy­ing spree. “I can un­der­stand the fact that our stuff is highly priced but there is a lot of ef­fort and qual­ity that goes into mak­ing ev­ery sin­gle cou­ture piece. It is painful to see some­one else copy it in cheaper qual­ity and de­stroy the cre­ativ­ity in the process,” says Taan­don.


Delhi Court’s ap­pointed com­mis­sioner seal­ing the copied out­fit

Ar­jun Kapoor Raj Kun­dra

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