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Imitation is a form of flattery – or so it seems. In Malaysia, more and more brands seem to be getting accused of ripping others off of their ideas.

Just this week, it was Siti Nurhaliza’s beauty brand Simplysiti that was put on blast. The company has since denied it had any intention of copying a smaller brand’s design packaging for facial cleansing wipes. In September, a local designer had a meltdown on camera after finding out that his magnetic headscarves were being swiped by a “big brand.”

This phenomenon of duplicating other people’s ideas doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, even as more people rally to call out the copycats. Here are five times Malaysian beauty and fashion brands were accused of cheating. Not only a product idea but also a whole ass store (yes, you read right!).

Sefarra/ Sephora

A Sephora outlet at left, and the now-closed Sefaraa shop in Kelantan. Photos: Sephora, Sefarra/Facebook

Malaysians familiar with the beauty scene may remember a store named Sefarra by social media influencer Farra Fareez back in 2017, mainly due to the brand’s resemblance to French megastore Sephora, even down to its striped paper bags. Her perfumes were also bottled a la those from the French fashion house, Chanel. But the imitator didn’t stop there. After shutting Sefarra’s only outlet in Kelantan, she produced a skincare product packaged in a bottle that looked just like the Virgin Marula Oil by Texan cult beauty brand Drunk Elephant.

At left is Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Oil and at right is Farra Beauty’s Breakout Serum. Photos: Drunk Elephant, Farra Beauty

doNUT Scarves/ dUCk

dUCk and doNUT packaging side-by-side. Photo: Okedkama/ Twitter

Fans of Vivy Yusof’s dUCk brand may do a double-take when they see a box by local modest fashion retailer doNUT Scarves, which appears to be a local rip-off of the former. doNUT was created in 2015, a year after Vivy created dUCk. Vivy seems unbothered by the existence of a similar-looking competitor, as she has not called them out publicly.

dUCk/ Soonaru

Nia Atasha at left, and Vivy Yusof pose for a photo with their headscarf. Photos: Sleepyllama,  dUCk/ Instagram

dUCk itself was accused of plagiarising other people’s designs last year. The Artsy dUCk collection looked similar to those by independent designer and model Nia Atasha Rosli, who released her watercolor-inspired scarves two years prior. 

Anas/ Nars

Side by side comparison of lip products by Anas at left, and Nars at right. Photos: Anas, Nars/ Instagram

Shah Alam-based makeup brand Anas, owned by entrepreneur Anas Zahrin, once released cosmetic products packed in bottles that looked just like those by French company Nars. Four years later, Anas has rebranded with a little bit more dose of originality. 

Christy Ng/ Chloe

Christ Ng’s Finley 2.0 bag at left, and Chloe’s Nile Small Bracelet Minaudière at right. Photos: Christy Ng, Chloe

Which local fashion enthusiast hasn’t bought a bag by fashion entrepreneur Christy Ng? In 2018, eagle-eyed observers noticed that Ng’s Finley 2.0 handbag looked so similar to the Nile Small Bracelet Minaudière bag by French fashion house Chloe. 

Still, Ng’s bag was more affordable, costing a little more than RM100 (US$20) per piece, which is a thousand times cheaper than Chloe’s price tag – US$1,500. 

Other creations that got people talking was the sold-out Felix V2 Quilted Handbag which seems to combine the elements of both a Chanel and YSL quilted handbag.

Clockwise from left: Christy Ng’s Felix V2 Quilted Handbag, YSL quilted bag, Chanel quilted bag.

Other stories:

Siti Nurhaliza’s brand pulls facial wipes over claims of copycat design


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