Maria B accuses Indian textile house of plagiarism

Published: September 3, 2015
Maria B’s Mbroidered collection worn by model Rubab Ali (right) and the design for AA Fabrics featuring Karisma Kapoor (left). PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

Maria B’s Mbroidered collection worn by model Rubab Ali (right) and the design for AA Fabrics featuring Karisma Kapoor (left). PHOTOS: PUBLICITY


The fashion industry has forever been plagued by copied designs, with hard work turned into cheap knock-offs and sold at low prices. Numerous designer collections have been replicated by textile mills — the most recent being Maria B’s ‘Mbroidered’ Eid collection.  AA Fabrics, an Indian textile house in Mumbai, allegedly copied all 10 designs of Maria’s collection with Karisma Kapoor as the face of the shoot. An AA fabric is selling their collection at half the price of the original.

AA Fabrics’ website and Instagram says, “Indian designer suits with a touch of Pakistani style. These are MF branded and inspired by Maria B a top-selling Pakistani designer”.  The Pakistani designer is known for creating two collections every year in partnership with Sahiba Textiles, another textile house in India. But the designs by AA Fabrics took her by surprise.

“At first we thought it was Sahiba Textiles replicating these designs but then we knew there was more to it because our Mbroidered collection was made exclusively for Pakistan. The collections I design for India are based on their sensibilities and preferences,” Maria told The Express Tribune.

Upon this discovery Maria asked her distributors in India to look into the matter, a request, which they flatly refused, stating that nothing will come out of this inquiry. “They told me that ‘our piracy laws are as ambiguous as yours and you can’t do anything to take AA Fabrics to task,’” added Maria.

AA Fabrics were not available for comments. An email was sent to the textile mill six days before the filing of this report.

On the designers end, it is next to impossible to copyright every design as it proves to be a lengthy and expensive process. Design registration makes sense for prints but for a limited edition designer collection such as Mbroidered, it isn’t worth the trouble the designer has to go through.

“When going through all this trouble is so fruitless in Pakistan, we think why bother to do the same in India, where the laws are as loose,” Maria replied to a question about copyrighting her designs.

Nonetheless, she still holds this as “criminal activity”, especially since AA Fabrics is producing her designs without permission and cashing in on her brand name in India. “One understands if you take inspiration from something but replicating all 10 designs of a collection that we spent three months working on is absolutely criminal,” said Maria.

Ace designer Faraz Manan believes that ubiquitous textile mills in India have been trying to fill in the huge demand-and-supply gap created by Pakistani lawn for quite some time now. But it remains unclear whether they get the replicas made in Pakistan or India.

“Once the production is over, their agencies approach actors and get the shoots done. When Karisma modelled for Habiba Fashion, she had no idea they were selling fakes of my designs and both the sisters were quite distressed when they found out,” Manan told The Express Tribune.

However, fake copies coming into the market is nothing new for India or for Pakistan. Recently, Sana Safinaz got the FIA involved to shut down a store that was selling fake replicas in Karachi. But as far as the Indian market is concerned, such incidents may help Pakistani designers in penetrating the market even more. “It is taking our name forward in India so it hasn’t harmed our business yet”, said Maria. “But in the long run if these replicas keep coming out then people might wait for the cheaper copies.”

Manan, whose designs were also sold as fake replicas in India agrees with Maria, “It didn’t affect my business as such because the fakes came a few months later and our quality is visibly much better,” he said. Theft of designs does ultimately damage our industry but at the same time encourages designers to constantly reinvent. Besides, people who invest in designer-wear form a market very different to that of replicas.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Alex
    Sep 3, 2015 - 10:16PM

    That’s what the indians are good at they copy code from Google and paste have no sense of development and the above is another example apart from stealing pakistan music Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Sep 3, 2015 - 10:26PM

    That’s what they do.

    It’s in their gene.Recommend

  • Point
    Sep 3, 2015 - 11:29PM

    Dear Maria B they love to copy anything from anywhere. There is a lack of intelligent mind in indiaRecommend

  • MK
    Sep 4, 2015 - 12:11AM

    They’ve done it in Bollywood for decades….

    Google “India Bollywood’s Plagiarism of Pakistani Music” to find out more. Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Sep 4, 2015 - 12:58AM

    Proud of you, Maria B. Indians are copycats, what can I tell you? Look at their film industry, stories copied from Hollywood, choreography copied from MTV USA and VH1 and music from Pakistan. Their artists will be out of work without stealing others work. Recommend

  • True
    Sep 4, 2015 - 3:31AM

    Yeah some idiots to that & you cry over your intelligence. That’s why you have Pakistanis has CEO’s of top corporates all over North America & elsewhere. The genes do matter so what can be said about yours???? What about your artists reformatting Indian songs. Where does the intelligence evaporates then ….. If cut/copy/paste code from google is what Indians are doing then why can’t you. How many patents you have on Pakistanis name. Name a few please.

    ET: This is not targeted at any community/people. Please publishRecommend

  • Arif
    Sep 4, 2015 - 3:41AM

    This is really pathetic!! Pakistan need 10 more years of good governance and you will see Pakistan progressing in all sectors. We have talent, we prove that everyday. We just need to kill all the terrorists who give made name to our countryRecommend

  • Darvesh
    Sep 4, 2015 - 4:15AM

    Unfortunately there is nothing in India which can be copied. There is no creativity in India yet the whole nation lives in constant fever of becoming world power. That’s the reason Crooks like Modi become prime minister of 1.3 billions fools.Recommend

  • Nk
    Sep 4, 2015 - 5:05AM

    Do you blame them?
    Indian clothes are so cheap looking as compared to Pak clothes, so they need to steal. Kinda feel sorry for them.
    Even Indian women in the west notice that Pakistani women wear more extravagant clothes.Recommend

  • aman
    Sep 4, 2015 - 8:23AM

    one designers copy and you call us copycats, indian rank better than pakistan on innovation index, there are many indian companies in top 100 innovative companies, 750 r&d centres in india by mulinationals, what have you done look at your automobiles still running on 90s tech and that too japanese, we are designing exporting indian cars, companies like tata, mahindea, force, bajaj, tvs, hcl, tcs, kirlosakar, infosys pakistan claim they are smart but has not been able to make indigineous car succesfully, all your buses. trucks all foriegn made!!!Recommend

  • aman
    Sep 4, 2015 - 8:26AM

    talking about innovation or creativity, we are five times more creative than you. even banhladrsh does better than pakistan India has five patents for a million people, five. times more than the Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Sep 4, 2015 - 8:34AM

    Take it to UNRecommend

  • Vectra
    Sep 4, 2015 - 9:07AM

    Who copied from whom???Maria B from a Indian textile house or vice versa???Recommend

  • Seasian
    Sep 4, 2015 - 9:43AM

    Pathetic mind-set of the people writing comments here. (I am not stupid like you to attribute stupidity to an entire nation because of you dolts!). Maybe shows the general lack of intelligent debate in the country considering these are people who have studied in English medium schools!!!

    @Alex – Then why is your part of the world known for AXACT and kaboom?
    @Timorlane – You share the same genetic haplotype my genius friend!
    @Point – Pray tell me what are your famous exports?Attributing the work of some textile mill to an entire country points to your lack of intellect more than anything else
    @MK and Lakhar Khan – Obviously all original input comes from Pakistan. Last I heard Tim Cook was traversing through the back-streets of Lahore to look for the next Apple product (maybe the ikebab?)!!!
    @Nk – Sure why not. An entire nation looks like they are dressed to be royalty but beg in the streets in the evening after? The reason why your country is full of beggars is because of geniuses like you (before the Indians jump in – 22% of your country lives below the poverty line too!)

    I hope this is a skewed sample and these jahils are not the the intellectual capability of the people of Pakistan…

    Coming from a country where Indians and Pakistanis are very good friends, it is pathetic to see how you dolts fight like cats & dogs. Maybe you all do deserve the crxppy politicians and the sad living conditions that you all live in… Such a waste of humanity and the idiots that need to set them right are puffing their chests and pointing out which country is a better howel!Recommend

  • Aneela
    Sep 4, 2015 - 9:50AM

    @all indians
    that’s true you guys are more creative then us, we have left behind. I am a Pakistani but i have this realization, we are not as creative as you are that’s not because we don’t have talent its because we don’t have facilities to show our talent. Bad governance is been killing of country for the last 68 years.Recommend

  • Curious???
    Sep 4, 2015 - 10:00AM

    @Vectra: lol… seriously? that the best u can come up with when AA Fabrics admitted to copying???

    @Tyggar: Twitter and social media would be a far better option, no?Recommend

  • Juggernaut
    Sep 4, 2015 - 10:28AM

    Using India’s name for publicity…good idea Maria B. But people are smart enough to understand.

    please ask your actress,actors, singers, cricketers etc not to come india for working.
    If you actually want to know then ask those people who has worked in India, they will tell you what is your level and what is India’s level.Recommend

  • Juggernaut
    Sep 4, 2015 - 10:31AM

    @ Aneela You choose your Govt. through election but in your country there are dual power center a civilian govt. and army, hence there are always bad governance. Its up to the people of your country will have to decide what is best.Recommend

  • ajay kumar
    Sep 4, 2015 - 10:37AM

    in addition ok ! We copied….Is it a unique technology?
    You people are speaking like we stole the most preciuos thing of your country & you have not left anyhting.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Sep 4, 2015 - 11:30AM

    That’s what they always do right ? Be it movies, music , TV or fashion . 1.5 billion blank minds.Recommend

  • MK
    Sep 4, 2015 - 11:34AM

    @ Seasian… is someone offended? have your bollywood dreams been shattered? Did you think Bollywood was the bastion of originality?

    As for Tim Cook and the west. Bollywood has been plagiarizing their work too loooolRecommend

  • Nshah
    Sep 4, 2015 - 11:36AM

    The only way to beat plagerisim is to innovate and innovate aggressively, keep putting out new work before they have time to copy your old ones. That will establish who the leader is, they just become irrelevant. Maintain the quality, I believe that people pay for quality as much as the design. Last but not the least, keep the margins low and the cost down. Sell more!!Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Sep 4, 2015 - 11:41AM

    I’m a Pakistani and I can tell you that all the Indians in this comments section are absolutely right. We are not as creative and innovative as them
    in copying things :)Recommend

  • Aisha
    Sep 4, 2015 - 12:38PM

    U should officially sue them as they always make mole of a hill this is our time to speak up n atleast do which is legal Recommend

  • Pakistani Dude
    Sep 4, 2015 - 12:43PM

    @ajay kumar:

    you seem to have no knowledge about the amount of hardwork is put in developing something creative. Recommend

  • ABC
    Sep 4, 2015 - 1:03PM


    We all know you have serious problems with writing basic English, but thanks for letting us know that basic comprehension is not easy for you either Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 4, 2015 - 1:04PM

    What does Shaan have to say about this ?Recommend

  • ajay kumar
    Sep 4, 2015 - 1:39PM

    @Pakistani Dude:

    There are hundreds of Designers internationally recognized what there in these ordinary designs.Sarees you wear in pakistan is pure indian.Recommend

  • Pakistani Dude
    Sep 5, 2015 - 11:57AM

    @ajay kumar:
    Kumar sahab, we do not ‘copy’ designs like you people but copying is something you are good at whether it is from Hollywood or Pakistan. Recommend

  • leela4fun
    Sep 6, 2015 - 12:07AM

    None can top Xerox Khan in the quantity and quality of copying! Recommend

  • Vivek
    Sep 6, 2015 - 12:28AM

    @Ahmed: You are right my bro we dont know to copy Atomic bomb of AQ khan and what about pirated bollywood hits in your back street citiesRecommend

  • Traffic247
    Sep 9, 2015 - 2:58AM

    Lol as hard as it might be for you to comprehend, a movie copied from the west and displayed as some magical Indian production is nothing to be proud of. That’s why the worth in the “back streets cities” of your movies is so little. Sorry for the honesty but you asked for it. Recommend

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