With a splashy fashion show and an advertising spread in September's Vogue magazine, Wal-Mart lately is trumpeting its desire to be a contender for space in the closets of America's style mavens.Though the designs may be the same the prices surely aren’t:
But the company's efforts to reposition itself as a purveyor of hip threads - ground it once ceded to rival Target - has attracted some negative attention, in the form of a lawsuit from the retail chain Anthropologie.
In a complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Anthropologie and its parent company, Urban Outfitters, allege that Wal-Mart copied several fabrics designed by Anthropologie.
The suit charges Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, with copyright infringement, deceptive trade practices and unfair competition.
The complaint singles out one Wal-Mart product, a skirt from the company's George brand, called "Women's Plus Floral Border Skirt." That skirt is on sale on Wal-Mart's Web site for $12 (down from $16.92); on Anthropologie's Web site, most skirts retail in the range of $100 to $250.Maybe Anthropologie needs to follow Wal-Mart’s lead and begin making its floral skirts in Bangladeshi sweatshops. Then again Anthrpologie would be facing a lawsuit of its own, for having suppliers that systematically mistreat their workers.