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Do we need fashion copyright?

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 18:50 IST
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Nalanda Bhandari, who debuted at the Mumbai fashion week, has been accused of being overly Calvin Kleinish. Proof? The pictures of the women in red accompanying this report.
 
Bhandari agrees the piece in question was an ‘inspiration’, but argues, “It’s just influence, when I saw the CK piece I liked it, but then I put tassles on it. It was a concept. It was only one piece in my collection, not an entire line.

“But then so many big Indian designers are influenced by, let’s say, Valentino.” International designers aren’t the only ones who are inspiring desi fashionistas.

Recently, Neeta Lulla is said to have “ripped off” a Tarun Tahiliani sari, and Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra “ripped off ” Rohit Bal’s gold and silver leaf motifs. Ritu Kumar won a case in the Delhi High Court against pilferers.

Finally, the fashion world seems to have found a solution of sorts. A plan is on to copyright designs.

Mumbai’s Anna Singh has jumped into the fray with her sleeves rolled up. She will launch her store in the city shortly, copyrighting every design which rolls out of her workshop. The precedent was established by J.J Valaya.

“I will be copyrighting every design, every print, all the jewellery and even the handbags from my studio,” Anna Singh says. She agrees that the process is “cumbersome, but necessary”.

According to her, copyrighting is much simpler in the West. “For instance Levis, Pepe, Diesel and Energy are very similar brands but they don’t rip off each others designs.” However, even as desi designers get copyright savvy, an equal number of designers question the logic.

Shrugs Narendra Kumar, “who has the time to run after them? Plus no fashion is really new, so what do you copyright? The tulip and the balloon skirt? Then you’ll be suing a lot of people.” Kumar concludes, “What if some other designer rushes to get my design copyrighted before me? I can only copyright my prints – fashion isn’t really all new, is it?”

E-mail author: kabeer.sharma @hindustantimes.com

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