They are not afraid to call out the who’s who of the entertainment and fashion world and plaster them with the hashtags #gandi #copy. Diet Sabya, an anonymous Indian Instagram account — a desi take on the internationally renowned Diet Prada — has been serving as the judge and jury for various copycats and faux pas of the fashion world. With the tagline ‘We are a copy’ and 48,500 followers, they have not escaped the notice of even filmmaker Karan Johar, who in a recent interview remarked that ‘I’m on DM with Diet Sabya’.
The page calls out designers, film stars, stylists and brands who seem to take copyright issues lightly. Their posts tag all the parties involved and they don’t mince words or pull back punches. Deepika Padukone and her stylist Shaleena Nathani have been shamed often and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja is a regular on the list. Kareena Kapoor Khan, who is not on social media, hasn’t been spared either. Padukone invited a recent post for wearing a white Zuhair Murad gown at Cannes that had infamously been copied by Manish Malhotra. “Good job @shaleenanathani — this is meta,” wrote Diet Sabya to her stylist. Designer Amit Agarwal, too, was slapped with their hashtag #gandi #copy for a dress worn by Malaika Arora Khan, which uncannily resembled a Versace design. “Disclaimer: This post may cause heartburn and emotional unrest,” they warned.
“Gandi Copy was a random hashtag that just caught on. And honestly, we don’t mind it at all. #GandicopyFTW,” says Diet Sabya, the collective, in an email. Those running the account continue to be anonymous as they discuss their brainchild in an email interview. Excerpts:
What’s the story behind the moniker? It sound like a homage to designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
Diet Sabya is Diet Coke plus Sabyasachi. A not-so-blatant homage to the most copied Indian couturier of all time. We feel like Cindy Crawford in a sequined sari.
Was Diet Prada, the international trademarked account with over five lakh followers, the inspiration?
In the beginning, yes. However, our narrative is as different and unique as Rakhi Sawant’s Instagram content. (Also, we are not affiliated to them whatsoever)
Why and how did you start an anonymous account?
Our identity is just not important. We were at Amazon India Fashion Week (in March) and completely flabbergasted by the fact that a menswear brand had just showcased blatant Gucci copies on the ramp. That (and more) helped fuel the first few posts.
Is the instance of a small boutique in the bylanes of East Delhi adapting a designer dress different from the Dior dress worn by Sonam Kapoor for the cover of Elle — a design which was created by artist Orijit Sen of People Tree?
If you are calling yourself a masterji/darji it doesn’t matter if you copy. However, if you’re calling yourself a designer you simply cannot copy + paste. Speaking of Sonam’s Dior dress inspired by People Tree, we are glad he won a settlement. Because it truly is a positive case study of the enormous power that social media holds.
Your account is not scared to call out the big names. Are you not concerned about the fallout?
Diet Sabya has no friends or allies. We have, and will continue, to call out everyone who is guilty.
How do you think the fashion industry has changed, especially when everyone seems to know everything?
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t think too much knowledge is a bad thing. People are definitely more aware of trends, celebrities, designers etc. It is definitely for the better.
Do designers copy because they are lazy, or do they rehash a formula to play safe?
People try to get influenced really easily. That clubbed with the fact that fashion is a really competitive shark-eat-shark market leads to the copy culture.
Do you moonlight as expose experts or is this your bread and butter?
We are a homegrown entity devoid of any advertisements whatsoever. At least, presently. (We have day jobs that pay the rent.)
Does your work entail you scrounging the internet for copied materials?
It’s a fair amount of research. But we have the best set of IG followers that constantly keep us busy with tips and material. We would attribute our rather microscopic eye for fashion to style.com and studying fashion show looks for over a decade.