image from Sinar Daily
TOKYO: Japanese fashion giant Uniqlo has taken legal action against Chinese rival Shein, accusing it of copying their highly popular "Mary Poppins carryall" crossbody pouch. The lawsuit, filed in Japan against Shein Japan and two subsidiaries, demands an immediate halt to the sale of imitation products and seeks compensation for damages, Uniqlo stated.
The focal point of the legal dispute is Uniqlo's nylon Round Mini Shoulder Bag, celebrated for its small size and nicknamed the "Mary Poppins carryall" due to videos on social media showcasing its surprisingly spacious interior. Priced at $19.90 in the United States, the bag has gained immense popularity, consistently selling out and earning the title of Uniqlo's best-selling bag.
Shein, a fast-fashion powerhouse founded in China in 2008 and headquartered in Singapore, has rapidly dominated the global market, particularly among young consumers reached through social media platforms. Valued at $66 billion last year, with reported revenues exceeding $23 billion, the online retailer is reportedly considering a significant initial public offering in New York this year, as the Wall Street Journal reported.
However, Shein has faced criticism for alleged exploitation of unpaid labor, lack of transparency in production processes, and fostering overconsumption, drawing ire from environmental and human rights activists. In a recent development, Chinese-owned online retailer Temu filed a lawsuit against Shein in a US court, accusing the company of employing "mafia-style" intimidation tactics to maintain dominance in the local market.
Uniqlo's legal action adds to the mounting challenges faced by Shein, emphasising the global repercussions of the fashion industry's intellectual property disputes. As the legal battle unfolds, the fashion world eagerly awaits the resolution of this clash between two major players in the industry.
Shein Japan has not yet responded to the legal proceedings.