Two weeks into the new year, and Shein is facing its first big lawsuit of 2024.
According to a statement put out by its parent company, Fast Retailing, Uniqlo filed documents in the Tokyo District Court in Japan on Dec. 28. accusing the Chinese retailer of copying its popular Round Mini Shoulder Bag. It requested that Shein's operators cease production of the "imitation products" immediately and compensate Uniqlo for damages.
Shoppers may recognize Uniqlo's Round Mini Shoulder Bag — which retails for $19.90 online in the U.S. — thanks to its viral success on TikTok. The nylon, crescent-shaped accessory is beloved for its genderless look and practicality, and was featured on Lyst's Year of Fashion report in 2023.
When the style began reaching global popularity, Fast Retailing released a statement warning shoppers of counterfeit and similar products being sold, urging customers to "be very careful" and saying: "We are considering legal action against the companies that manufacture and sell the products."
In its most recent update, Fast Retailing stated that the imitation product "significantly undermines the high level of customer confidence in the quality of the Uniqlo brand and its products."
Shein, of course, is no stranger to accusations of copying. In August 2023, Chrome Hearts sued the fast-fashion retailer, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition based on one of the luxury brand's cross designs. It also faced a lawsuit from fellow fast-fashion brand Temu last year. (The battle ceased in December.)
Representatives for both Shein and Uniqlo didn't immediately respond to Fashionista's request for comment.
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