Miss Universe’s recently dress worn to South Africa’s 2020 state of the nation address in Cape Town. is beyond stunning. She carried herself well and definitely brought the yellow, in the sleeveless slit dress made by Gert Johan Coetzee, to life with her beautiful brown skin. Her dress, however, the outfit was coupled with a necklace also credited to South African designer Gert Johan Coetzee seemed a bit to familiar.
In fact the necklace was a very similar replica of a design by international accessory designer Aphia Sayki who hails from Ghana. Aphia Sakyi is known for dressing celebrities both in Ghana and abroad, such as Janet Jackson, Ciara, Yvonne Okoro and more. She also made a name showcasing on major runways such as Accra Fashion Week in Ghana, AFI Fashion Week in South Africa. In fact this could probably be where Gert Johan Coetzee might have began to recognise her work and was first introduced to her designs as her presence in South Africa was only last year 2019.
See the two necklaces back to back.
Some might argue say it is simply coincidence that the leading South African brand that has astonished many with his red carpet outfits came up with a necklace that resembles that of Aphia Sayki’s and that it’s not plagiarizing, it could be either inspiration or a mere coincidence that the two look alike.
And yes, That would be acceptable if he had not also copied an exact replica of her work only a week ago, where without a shadow of a doubt he copied the design of the Wusulu necklace by Aphia Sakyi.
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The wusulu necklace is popularly seen in Black and white but also in various colours. Gert Johan Coetzee made an exact and identical version in gold, if which he rocked to the SunMet2020 alongside Bonang Matheba.
Back To Back
On FashionGHANA we have only done nothing by compliment designer Gert Johan Coetzee for his amazing work, but the truth is the truth. It’s onething to be inspired by a designer that has been there and gone, or created a collection that is way passed it’s due date, or even to make something slightly different. But Aphia Sakyi is still in the works and her designs are still on the market and still being promoted. This should not be looked at as inspiration, this is a blatant copy. Changing the type of material, or the colour does not give one the right to emulate another designers work, even more so in such a case like placing in on an inspiring figure such as Miss Universe in the midst of press and dignitaries.
Besides of negative implications that of plagiarizing that arises from these kind of acts, it also makes those that adire your work suspicious about all the other fabulous designs that have wowed people us in images or the runway. Raising the questions if all are actually the creative products of Gert? Or if they were they copied from brands that are in countries his followers will never know or get to see?
Designers in Ghana are hardly protected by the law. We have a very weak governments that do not take our creative industry serious. Let alone the costs to patent or trademark designs is not beneficial to the market in Africa. Therefore in many cases we see creatives, and even as many published here on FashionGHANA, having their styles and hard work being ripped off right infront of them whilst they watch western and foreign brands absorb the glory for what they didn’t originate, and now growingly, African brands. It is at this point where fashion media must call out designer commit such moral crimes.