Pakistani Designer Pays Tribute To Portuguese Illustrator’s Work Without Permission

Pakistani Designer Pays Tribute To Portuguese Illustrator’s Work Without Prior Permission

A female Pakistani fashion designer has been criticized for using a Portuguese illustrator’s illustrations as part of her new digitally printed clothing line. She claims that her collection is not an imitation, replication or inspiration but it is rather a tribute to the illustrators all over the world. However, she has been reported to have used the illustrations without seeking prior consent from the artists, one of whom has shown his disapproval over social media.

Other members of the Pakistani fashion industry have condoned using the artist’s work for commercial use without credit or royalty, but have also tried to justify that inspiration, and not imitation, to an extent is common practice in the commercial world and most people take it as a compliment rather than an insult.

Narrow definitions under copyright laws make it difficult to classify what may or may not be protected. There is only minimal ‘fashion design’ protection under trademark, logo and patent laws in the US, that may protect individual elements involved in design, even ‘fabric designs’ may be copyrightable, but ‘dress designs’ may have more protection under the laws of EU its individual member states than in the US. The debate continues whether extending copyright protection to fashion designs will hurt the fashion industry or help breed creativity and healthy competition.

Proponents of copyright laws argue that fashion designs, like any other work of art, should be protected from replication as it is not fair to take credit away from the creators and offer the same designs for lower prices. However there is a fine line between fashion design and art, as there is not much copyright protection in fashion while artwork may be copyrighted. So the Portuguese illustrator may also have a legal claim if his illustrations are registered as piece of art.


  • Portuguese Illustrator has provided the same illustrations to CHANEL as well, although CHANEL has not come after the Pakistani designer.
  • Similar issues have arisen between high-end brand Diane Von Furstenberg and highstreet brand Forever 21.

For more information on the national front:

For more information on the international front:

Anoosha Shaigan

Author: Anoosha Shaigan

The writer is a human rights and technology lawyer with an LLM degree in Tech, Media & Telecom Law from Queen Mary UK. She is a High Court Advocate and certified Legislative Drafter, working on legal and political reforms in human rights, international law, gender justice and legal innovation for over 12 years. She serves as the VP and Editor of Courting The Law, Pakistan’s first legal news and analysis portal with various initiatives that leverage technology to improve access to justice. She also serves as VC of the Legal Informatics Committee at Lahore High Court Bar Association, Asia’s oldest and biggest bar. She has worked with various government ministries and international organizations and was also elected on the Governance and Accountability Council of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community. She has authored the Legislative Brief on Right To Information law for Parliament and has also been nominated as a Young Political Leader by the US Department of State, having served as the Honorary Deputy Secretary of State in Indiana during the US Presidential Election in 2016.


Hi. Interesting. But as your post is very very very opaque, can you please PM me some more details of the designers’ names so that i can get more background infromation. FYI I am an Ip academic and am interested in reading about copyright, trademarks and patent law issues.

Thank you for taking interest in this news update Owais. We have emailed you details regarding the parties involved in this issue. We have also posted some information regarding patents in our FAQs section and we would like to post more details about copyrights in fashion and similar issues. We appreciate and look forward to your input – Team CTL

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