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Banana Republic “100% Supima Cotton” T-Shirts Not Supima Class Action

This class action centers on Authentic Supima V-Neck T-Shirts made by Banana Republic, LLC that are supposedly made from “100% Supima Cotton.” The complaint alleges that testing was performed on one such t-shirt, and that the length of the fibers indicate that the t-shirt is made from a significantly lower proportion of Supima cotton.

Two classes have been defined for this action:

  • The Illinois Class is all persons in Illinois who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.
  • The Consumer Fraud Multi-State Class is all persons in Iowa and Arkansas who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

The word “Supima” is derived from a combination of the words “superior” and “Pima.” It is a trademark used to advertise textile items made from 100% American Pima cotton. Supima cotton comes from Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico.

Pima cotton is an extra-long staple cotton that is highly desirable because its long fibers make it stronger, softer, and more durable than other kinds of cotton. Its fibers are between roughly 1.2 and 1.44 inches long.

The fact that Pima and Supima cotton is both more desirable and more expensive than ordinary kinds of cotton, the complaint says, “creates incentives for manufacturers to mix cotton byproducts and shorter fibers with higher value longer fibers, to gain additional profits at the expense of consumers.”

But there is a single-fiber test, the D5103, developed by ASTM, a global standards group, that the complaint claims “can determine the length and length distribution of fibers used [in] clothing.”

The complaint claims, “Laboratory analysis of the Product and/or substantially similar products was performed in accordance with the ASTM D5103 standard.” The results showed that “between most[] and all fibers were shorter than 1.200 inches … and shorter than 1.080 inches … below the range for Supima cotton.”

What if some of the fiber length was lost as a result of the manufacturing process? The complaint alleges, “Even where an adjustment is made to the fiber lengths by assuming a twenty-five (25_ percent reduction during the manufacturing, approximately seventy (70) percent of the fibers would fall under the Supima classification.”

According to the complaint, “[t]hese results support the strong inference that the cotton used in the Product is not 100% Supima cotton and contains a significant amount of less expensive shorter cotton fibers and/or cotton byproduct fibers.”

The federal Textile Fiber Products Identification Act requires that clothing accurately show its fiber composition. The complaint alleges that fiber composition is “basic information consumers rely on” when buying clothing.

The counts include negligent misrepresentation and fraud, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

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Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Mislabeling of Materials as Higher-Quality Materials