Anyone remember when Urban Outfitters got called out for allegedly stealing another designer’s work? Or how about the time Hailey Clauson sued Urban Outfitters for selling a t-shirt with a quite provocative (and underage) image of herself? Well, Urban Outfitters is at it again and this time they’re messing with the Navajo Nation.
Urban Outfitter stores have been selling wares marketed as “Navajo.” But their products, specifically the Navajo Flask, Navajo Socks, and Navajo Hipster Panties, are at the center of a legal dispute citing a Federal Trade Commission Act law that says,
“It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, resident within the United States. If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.”
As it turns out, the Navajo Nation has even trademarked their own name, according to a recent article in Jezebel, which states,
“The Navajo Nation holds 12 trademarks on the use of the term “Navajo,” including two that cover various forms of clothing and one that covers online retailing. The Attorney General of the Navajo Nation actually wrote to Urban Outfitters months ago asking the corporation to cease and desist using its trademarks to sell clothing and accessories that have nothing to do with any actual Navajo people or designs.”
Translation: this means big trouble for Urban Outfitters.
Although diamond and triangle patterns are in (well they’ve always been in), Urban Outfitters seems to continually misunderstand the word “original.” Their design team is set up to go online and search sources for the next hip thing, but this continuing trend of legal transgressions is starting to make me think they’re just blatantly copying forward-thinking designers while skirting every law in the book.