Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret is facing a $15 million lawsuit for using photos of Zephyrs hosiery to sell cheaper products. The companies have collaborated for a while, but when they ended their collaboration, Victoria’s Secret kept displaying Zephyr products’ photos, selling cheaper hosiery, made in Canada, but advertised as high-quality Italian products.
Zephyr, an Italian hosiery brand, filed a lawsuit against Victoria’s Secret on Monday, claiming the lingerie giant copied their designs after ending the collaboration with the supplier. The suit was filed in Columbus, Ohio, the place where Victoria’s Secret is headquartered. The company is facing unfair competition, false advertising and consumer fraud charges.
Zephyr is asking for the recall of three types of products: Lace Top Fish Net Stockings, Fish Net Thigh-Highs With Backseam, and Signature Stripe Thigh-High With Bows. Moreover, the hosiery supplier is seeking for corrective advertising and damages following the breach of contract.
In the photos added to the file as evidence, several differences could be noticed – Zephyr stockings feature true galloon construction with scalloped picot edge, stronger motif definition, frill (which ads fashion element) and twin needle stitching which ensured durability. In comparison, the stockings made in Canada have no frill, an overlocked stitching that doesn’t guarantee durability of the product, irregular borders and Jacquatronic lace (cheaper) in the upper part of the stocking. In addition, Zephyr uses full slipper foot on fishnets.
Despite these differences, Victoria’s Secret kept the Zephyr photos to illustrate the Canadian stockings, thus tricking customers into believing they are buying higher quality items. “Victoria’s Secret changed the product in the packaging but didn’t change anything else except Made in Canada on the back of the package”, said Zephyr’s lawyer Joseph Gioconda. The company sold “at least $120 million worth of Zephyrs-designed product throughout all 50 states, through the Victoria’s Secret chain of retail stores, the Victoria’s Secret print catalogue and the popular Victoria’s Secret Web site”, he added.
According Shine, Victoria’s Secret declined to comment, but has removed the items in question from the website. “We are planning to proceed and will be serving papers to Victoria’s Secret and The Limited as well as other Victoria’s Secret entities. They will have 21 days to respond”, Gioconda concluded.