They may be making a million bucks on the exclusive, couture outfits, but designers have some tough competition on the home turf. A slew of shops in Chandni Chowk are selling a Ritu Kumar, Rina Dhaka sari, and a Ritu Beri ensemble at less than half of the original price. Well, needless to say they are replicas!
“Aap designer ka naam lijiye, aur hamare paas wo milega,” says Pranab Gupta of Apsara sarees. Apsara stacks saris from the well-known to the lesser known designers. You can fetch a Sabyasachi sari for as low as Rs 15,000. Yogesh Aggarwal, Z creations, Chandni Chowk, says, “We have all designer suit replicas. And we can arrange for any designer creation.”
A raw deal
Alka Sharma (name changed), one of the buyers says, “I got a lehanga for my wedding from Chandni Chowk. It was a ‘JJ Valaya creation’. It cost me Rs 25,000.” Sharma knows well that she got a raw deal because a Valaya creation costs nothing less than Rs 50,000.
Designers, on the other hand, are aware of this buisness but feel their hands are tied. Designer Leena Singh says, “Once I went to Chandni Chowk with a friend and the salesman asked us, ‘Madam, tell me whose design do you want, Rohit Bal, Rina Dhaka, JJ Vallaya?’… So what is the solution? “I think that designers should get their designs registered and it’s an ethical responsibility of the buyers too, to stop buying such apparels thereby, acknowledging designers hard work,” says Leena.
Puneet Nanda of Satya Paul has taken legal action against the copycats, but says it’s a “long-drawn procedure.” Nanda has had his designs registered too. “I have paid lakhs to get my designs registered.” He tells us that it takes anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 to register a design.
Don’t blame us
The showroom owners, on the other hand, say that they pay huge amounts to first buy these designs. Rajeev Nanda of Roop Saree Creations says, “We buy designs from the designers in question. We sweat ourselves to pull off an apparel and it’s not at all fair on their part to say we copy.” He adds, “Yeh sab bade designer hello, ho-ho, hi karte hain. Hum log kaam kartein hain din raat aur aam aadmi ki pahunch tak kapdon ke daam rakhtein hain.”
Gauri Arora of Anarkali Bazaar finds nothing wrong in being “inspired.” She says it’s not plain copying, “we improvise on designs while making it.”
The real one
Designers say that they put in their heart and soul to create a design and people should give them their due by not buying the fakes. Puja Nayyar says that she has a range that is affordable too. “There’s no reason at all to wear copied designs. If you like to be cool be original.” Well, we think so too!