Copied stitch for stitch: Quiteria Kekana accuses designer of replicating his work

2020-02-16 18:00

In an industry battling to stave off knock-offs, Quiteria Atelier became the latest to have its work replicated

Popular fashion designer Quiteria Kekana (36) has accused Nigerian-based designer Abiodun Folashade Tokunbo of replicating a recent design of his.

Isithembiso actress Nandi Mbatha sported a structured mustard Quiteria Atelier dress to the Sun Met at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town earlier this month.

Mbatha’s dress was the talk of the town, with the court divided between those who totally loved it and those who gave it a thumbs down.

Tokunbo, the founder of Anjy Luminee Couture, has since copied the design and posted it on her social media, @ceolumineeofficial, as her own.

But she did not only plagiarise the design, she also copied Mbatha’s hairstyle and shoes.

Tokunbo recently posted a picture of herself and her daughter wearing matching purple dresses, hairstyles and shoes on Instagram, with the caption: “Luminee herself finished the work. Say the truth, how many times did you zoom in. When God do too shower you with miraculous blessing, anything is allowed (sic).”

City Press tried to contact Tokunbo about the matter, but the designer did not respond to text messages and calls.

“It is really heartbreaking when people copy your hard work, especially because it’s not so long ago that the Sun Met took place. But I guess that’s the price you pay for being a trendsetter.”
Cluivert - Hairstylist

Meanwhile, Kekana feels “disrespected as a designer. Any designer would be truly unhappy with having their work replicated, especially without their consent. Unfortunately, even big brands face the same thing,” he says, adding that most of his designs are inspired by architecture in emotion.

The designer says he will not pursue the matter legally.

He told City Press that the motivation behind Mbatha’s dress was Africa and its cultural diversity.

While Kekana, who has been a designer for more than five years, says he is proud to have his work celebrated on stages beyond South Africa, he encourages those wishing to take inspiration from other people’s work to do so respectfully.

“If designers wish to collaborate, they should communicate with the originator instead of copying. I’ve worked tirelessly on producing good work. Nandi’s outfit took us a month to conceptualise,” he shared.

Nigerian-based designer Abiodun Folashade Tokunbo of Anjy Luminee Couture. Picture:Supplied/ instagram

He swiped at those calling themselves fashion designers meanwhile they lack creativity.

“There is a huge difference between a seamstress and a fashion designer. My dream is that every household around the world will one day own a Quiteria original. No fakes.

“My goal is to inspire and shape the fashion narrative around the world.”

The Limpopo-born designer has paid his dues in the fashion industry. He collaborated with Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa when they dressed Beyoncé for the 2018 Global Citizen Festival.

Mbatha, who is the face of Quiteria Atelier, said she was flattered that Tokunbo stole the design she wore.

“I saw this coming because I know people always want to associate themselves with fashion trends that are hot, [even if] they lack the creativity to think out of the box. But I am proud that I was the first one to wear the dress. This means that we set trends and it’s normal when people follow,” she quipped.

The celebrity hairstylist known only as Cluivert, who styled Mbatha’s hair, said: “It is really heartbreaking when people copy your hard work, especially because it’s not so long ago that the Sun Met took place. But I guess that’s the price you pay for being a trendsetter.”

Kekana will be showing his avant-garde collection at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on February 29.

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March 29 2020