Plagiarism has become a frequent phenomenon among well-known designers and artists, but in a society that puts no value to intellectual property, copying other people's work becomes an accepted reality.
Jimmie Martin —a luxury brand based in London that makes hand-painted customised furniture pieces, artwork, lamps and interior design — recently took to Instagram to point out a Pakistani copycat using their designs unabashedly at an event without giving due credit.
In their official Instagram account's story, the brand posted a series of screenshots from the Kidney Centre Brunch, an annual event in Karachi that was organised and curated by a local event planner, Amina Rashid Khan's Raka Events, and hosted the brand's iconic designs.
Additionally, Jimmie Martin posted reactions and responses by his Pakistani audience who were overwhelmingly supportive of the furniture brand's position on the whole affair.
While many rightly call copycats out, we think the real problem is that blatant duplication is a symptom of limited imagination. The label has confirmed to Images that they've retained a Karachi-based law firm to pursue legal action.
Looking more closely at photos from the event, we can see why. On the left are Martin's designs and on the right are photos from the event in Karachi:
In a statement shared with Images, Khan said, "The ‘Kidney Centre Brunch’ is a charitable event and my services to the event are a charitable contribution on my behalf to the charity and I do it on a pro bono basis."
She continued, "I am neither an interior designer nor a furniture/homeware manufacturer or retailer. I am also not an artist nor do I take credit as one. I am not Jimmie Martin’s competitor and in fact, am not even working in the same field. My job is simply to implement a theme for events mainly using one-time props creating an illusion for the attendees and nothing more. It’s very similar to a Disney, Michael Jackson, Great Gatsby or Andy Warhol themed event."
"It is not possible to “buy” or “use” any of the material present at the event and the props are temporary conduits for creating the illusion to celebrate the ideology in the form of a theme. There was no shop set up selling products claiming them as Jimmie Martin products or my own products. The medium on which the illusion of the subject has been displayed is entirely different."
According to Khan, the Jimmie Martin name was mentioned on the invite as well as on print precisely because they wanted to celebrate the brand’s ideology in their theme. She says they had not put up any post on their Instagram and were going to mention his name as a hashtag when they posted pictures.
Khan confirmed that she had never sought to claim the ideas as their own or to benefit from them in any way but “unfortunately someone else posted it with certain taglines before any event-related pictures were officially posted”.