Today, we are shining the spotlight on Haute Fashion Africa, an online go-to for all you need to know about African fashion. Launched in 2007, it consistently delivers world class editorial content, amazing fashion scoops and an up-to-date directory of African fashion designers.

When My Asho launched in 2009, the team at Haute Fashion very generously contributed editorial content for our site, delivering fashion news and trend reports. We are huge supporters of their work and for all those interested in fashion from the continent, we strongly recommend you sign up to their daily newsletter.

Their newsletter today got us thinking and debating in HQ. We have chronicled the "inspiration" debate several times - most passionately on our old blogpost site here., but receiving our Haute daily email, the sparks began to reignite again. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this article from Haute Fashion Africa. Happy Spotlight Tuesday.

"From Deola Sagoe to Stella McCartney, Jewel by Lisa to Burberry, Lanre da Silva to Prada, when does inspiration become imitation?!"

Culled from

Albert Einstein once said “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”, another popular quote defines imitation as the sincerest form of flattery. The fashion industry as we know it is constantly evolving and recycling trends/themes, giving room to recurrence and enhanced creativity.

However, in a case where inspiration is drawn from a source other than one’s self, credit should be given to persons due.


Lanre Da Silva Ajayi A/W 2013 | Prada S/S 2014

Nigerian designer Lanre Da Silva Ajayi who just recently got introduced to Milan, Italy in 2013 just last A/W 13 debuted a collection focused on textures, patterns and most distinctly pieces infected by art work of what appeared to be fearless women (as seen above). Fast forward to a year later, during Milan Fashion Week, Prada presented its S/S 2014 collection, while this collection featured luxé sportswear and embellishments, it also distinctly featured printed mural artwork of women gangs:

LDA AW13 vs Prada SS14Lanre Da Silva Ajayi A/W 2013 | Prada S/S 2014

It begs the question – was this a mere coincidence or did Lanre Da Silva Ajayi inspire Prada? Considering the Nigerian labels recent introduction into Milan via very popular Italian Fashion Brand, Dolce & Gabanna.


Jewel By Lisa S/S 2010 | Prada S/S 2012Jewel By Lisa S/S 2010 | Prada S/S 2012

Jewel by Lisa presented their S/S 2010 collection in New York, the designer employed wax print fabrics made into dresses and separates. A variety of fabrics were used, however there was a stand out fabric (Seen Below and Above), which was also used a year later by Burberry for their African-Inspired Collection S/S 2012.

Did JBL inspire Burberry when they visited the Jewel by Lisa studio a year prior or did the burberry team stumble on this pattern while fabric sourcing?

Read more on the Haute Fashion Africa Website

Coincidence? Inspiration? Imitation?

- Should designers own up to another designer being their source of inspiration?


- Is it okay to assume coincidence even when it really isn’t?


- Should there be stricter rules with regards to trademarking pieces to avoid imitation?

Let's discuss this! Leave a comment below or join the conversation

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