Gavin Rajah responds to allegations of copycat work

Gavin Rajah responds to allegations of copycat work

READ THE VERY LATEST IN THIS SAGA: US designer provides more detail about her beef with Gavin Rajah

Johannesburg - Gavin Rajah has responded, through his attorney, to allegations he attempted to intimidate Chelsea Liu via an email and that he used her pictures and designs in a magazine article which profiled him.

In a statement to Newsful on Tuesday evening, Mr. Rajah said claims from Ms. Liu's Facebook posts were "defamatory". 

On Monday, the Asian-American designer claimed Mr. Rajah used her images and took credit for her designs in a feature article published in Harayer Magazine. She also accused him of intimidation and posted a picture of an email he sent to her husband Marc Janke. 

In his reply, Mr. Rajah said Ms. Liu's instituted action against his company on the 18th of March and that the claim related to the business arrangement between his company and Ms. Liu regarding services rendered. Mr. Rajah further stated that his company defended the case before she withdrew her charges. 

He said Ms. Liu's claims that she had withdrawn her case against him over delay tactics by his lawyers were "untrue".

In response to Ms. Liu's claims, Mr. Rajah, speaking through his lawyer said: "Gavin Rajah Atelier CC concluded a business agreement with Ms Chelsea Liu during 2015 in which certain monies were paid by her for services rendered by the corporation.  As the representative of the corporation, I confirm that we complied fully with our obligations which included using images from both ranges to secure international exposure.  The business relationship was unsuccessful and to date Ms Liu is still indebted to the corporation.  Ms Liu instituted legal action but withdrew it last week.  Had she had any basis or prospect of success she would have pursued it.  She however has chosen to withdraw the legal proceedings, which the corporation defended, and rather utilise social media to defame and damage my good name and reputation.  I outright deny the unfounded allegations. If Ms Liu believed she had a valid claim she would have pursued it through her legal representatives in South Africa, which she has not done. It is correct that I addressed an e-mail to her husband, which I did only pursuant to her malicious posts on Facebook, to inform him, as a courtesy, that should these defamatory comments not be withdrawn I would institute proceedings to protect my reputation which may affect her application for citizenship in the USA.  I did not attempt to intimidate her or her family and her public comments in this regard are defamatory, unfounded and untrue."

On Monday, Ms. Liu posted a picture of the email Mr. Rajah sent to her husband Marc Janke. The email, was entitled "Courtesy Email".

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The email reads: "Hi Marc, I am writing this email only as a courtesy. In fact I write this out of respect for you. Should Chelsea not remove all her malicious posts on Facebook we intend sending an urgent application to the US Citizenship & Immigration Service via the US Consulate by our attorney today in SA illustrating our intent to pursue damages and a charge of cyber bullying. The implications for green card holders and individuals not naturalised in the US are dire, given this behaviour, I am sure you are aware of. She has until 14h00 SA time to remove this. There are other legal methods of recourse and or forms of discussion but as usual Chelsea would prefer her irrational behaviour."

Responding to her post, more than one person responded with support for her case. 

Sim Tshabalala wrote: "Please don't [heed] a word from that email … its his modus operandi and sends such threats etc and bullying tactics etc… i have received such in the past. they hold no water and he has no power to do what he is suggesting etc. he threatens people, as usually designers and creatives are in the main non-confrontational and are timid. and so he strong arms his way out of many sticky similar situations. BE STRONG and stick to your guns as there is NOTHING he can do to you…just trying to bully you."

Mr. Tshabalala was the first to accuse Mr. Rajah of stealing Mr. Murad's design at 2014's Cape Town Fashion Week.

Read Ms. Liu's detailed explanation of her claims against Gavin Rajah.

Social media also reacted to news of the allegations Mr. Rajah faces. He has had similar allegations in at least three separate cases. Read them here.

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Tags: Gavin Rajah Chelsea Liu Harayer Magazine Marc Janke copycat stealing designs

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