Another day, another fashion lawsuit: Christian Louboutin is coming for Amazon, Adidas is taking Thom Browne to court. And now, fast-fashion giant Zara is suing a small Los Angeles-based brand for "serial" copyright violations. Yes, you read that right: Zara is the one suing another entity this time around.
The Fashion Law reports that, in a lawsuit filed in a New York federal court on Jan. 4, Zara alleges that Thilikó and owner Queenie Williams built a business by reselling Zara garments at high mark-ups, removing and replacing Zara tags with Thilikó's own. Zara and its parent company Inditex also claim that up to 32 images have been infringed upon by the LA brand, which touts inspiration from "Scandinavian simplicity and French elegance."
Thilikó's website is replete with minimalist pieces that promise high material quality and sustainability, plus carry higher prices: A mohair jacket costs about $1,300, while a tank dress comes in just under $500; meanwhile, a Zara coat tends to cost around $130, a comparable tank dress $50.
Part of Zara's complaint alleges that Thilikó rebranded Zara items as its own with "exorbitant mark-ups," and that is falsely positioning itself "as an independent fashion brand and the creator and craftsman-like maker of the fashion designs in its collections." (The latter claim feeds into arguments around the dizzying level of greenwashing pervasive in the industry today: Is it possible for smaller retailers to masquerade as sustainable while copying fast-fashion's biggest players?)
Zara and Inditex are seeking "substantial monetary damages, as well as irreparable and unquantifiable harm to Zara's reputation and goodwill," per The Fashion Law. Williams has yet to release comment or a statement on the case.
Considering the legacy of fast-fashion brands copying designs from independent brands, this feels like a figurative Uno reverse card.