Big brands are often at the centre of some or other controversy. If it's not cultural appropriation or downright insensitivity to minorities then it's stealing designs and local brand Khosi Nkosi is the latest to join the fray.
Designer Mamello Mosase recently took to social media in a fit of rage after the brand posted an image of a dress that looked exactly like one that she had designed for her brand, Mobu by Melo.
If the name Khosi Nkosi sounds familiar, that is because they have dressed various Zalebs such as rapper Nadia Nakai, Zizo Tshwete and media personality Thando Thabethe. Their ready-to-wear items are also available at major retailer YDE (Young Designers Emporium).
According to Mosase her frustrations are compounded by the fact that she been tirelessly looking for a commercial retailer to stock her designs. As such, she reached out to YDE who she claims refused to take her designs, stating "your range doesn't resemble the latest trends and the product look and feel will not appeal to our market," in an official response to her application.
Mosase also claims that shortly after her designs were rejected, the store launched the Khosi Nkosi range.
As soon as she noticed the similarity between the dresses in question, Mosase then reached out to the brand on social media to which they responded "...these accusations are so unfortunate. Our dress was available in stores on 22 August in the same print with the design we used at Fashion Week..."
Mosase then explained, "the fact that YDE - after I spoke to them to start my work - they told me that they can't...they say my work is not trendy and my work is not sexy, and to see them stocking the exact work that I had sent them was quite insulting."
With regards to the dates in question, Mosase said "I released it on the 27th of August, that was the release date."
However according to emails in our possession, YDE responded to the claim saying "Khosi Nkosi launched this style at the Mercedes Benz fashion week 17 - 19 August of this year and by 23 August was already available in stores, whereas, from what we can ascertain, the first public presentation of your dress appeared on Instagram at the end of August (30th August)."
Even though it is just this design that was allegedly stolen the designer says she had to speak out as it is not the first time that Khosi Nkosi does this, "I felt like if I didn't speak out [it will] keep happening time and time again."
"People like Khosi Nkosi who are established designers bully us upcoming designers because they know that we don't have the platform to showcase our work on a larger scale. They take work from people like us ...who have no funding whatsoever and everything that we do, we do it for the passion and from our pockets," said Mosase.
Instead of receiving the apologies she wanted, she was threatened with a lawsuit by YDE. In spite of that, she is still willing to seek justice outside of social media.
"We have investigated, and based on the outcome of our investigations, we deny that Khosi Nkosi “stole” your designs as you allege. The design of the dress in question is trending at the moment, and similar styles are very common in the marketplace," said the brand in response to Mosase via email.
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Main image credit: instagram.com/khosinkosi