Authentic Brands Group faces a proposed class action that claims its Brooks Brothers-brand white Fitted Non-Iron Stretch Supima Cotton dress shirt is made with less Supima cotton than the label claims.
The 15-page lawsuit alleges that the dress shirt’s neck and interior tags falsely identify it as made with “97% Supima Cotton” and “3% Lycra Spandex” given that less than 52 percent of the product is made up of Supima cotton. Contrary to its labeling claims, the dress shirt is mixed with cheaper, shorter cotton fibers and cotton byproduct fibers, the filing contends.
Per the suit, consumers value products made with Supima cotton, a type of extra-long staple cotton, over those made with other types of cotton, and are willing to pay more for them.
“The main criteria to identify [a] type of cotton is the fiber length,” the complaint says. “The length of cotton fibers affects its qualities and price, because the longer the fiber, the stronger, softer, and more durable the resulting fabric.”
The complaint explains that Supima cotton’s fiber length, which ranges from 1.2 to 1.56 inches, categorizes it as a higher quality, costlier type of cotton. Likewise, the Brooks Brothers shirt’s product listing says the company uses American-grown Supima cotton “for its extra-long staple fibers that provide superior strength, softness, color retention, and longevity,” the case relays.
The suit alleges that a test conducted by an independent laboratory using a standardized testing method revealed that 70 percent of the shirt’s cotton fibers were shorter than 1.2 inches and 49 percent were shorter than 1.08 inches.
According to the suit, an expert who reviewed the test results concluded that only 52 percent of the shirt’s fibers would qualify as Supima cotton, even after generously accounting for and likely overestimating potential fiber shrinkage during the manufacturing process.
“The TexTest Report supports the strong inference that the cotton used in the Product is not only Supima cotton but contains a significant amount of less expensive shorter cotton fibers and cotton byproduct fibers,” the case says.
Per the complaint, Authentic Brands Group has violated the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act by erroneously advertising the product’s Supima content as higher than it is. The company’s alleged misrepresentation allows it to sell the dress shirts at a premium price, especially since consumers expect high-quality products from the Brooks Brothers brand, the complaint argues.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in Colorado, Washington, New Hampshire, Virginia, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Vermont, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Delaware, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina or Utah who purchased Brooks Brothers’ white Fitted Non-Iron Stretch Supima Cotton dress shirt during the applicable statute of limitations period.
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