A proposed class action claims certain Perry Ellis shirts do not contain between 60 and 65 percent Pima cotton as advertised.
The nine-page lawsuit in Illinois federal court claims the products, in truth, contain at most only 55 percent Pima cotton and are instead made from “a significant amount of less expensive shorter cotton fibers or cotton byproduct fibers.” Defendant Perry Ellis International, Inc. has run afoul of the federal Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and sold more shirts than it would have had the fashion house honestly identified the products, the complaint alleges.
“The Product is sold for a price premium compared to other similar products, approximately $35.99 per shirt, a higher price than it would otherwise be sold for, absent the misleading representations and omissions,” the suit claims.
Per the lawsuit, the main criteria used to identify a type of cotton or other fiber is the fiber length. The case says the length of cotton fiber affects its qualities and price—the longer the fiber, the stronger, softer and more durable the fabric, the suit states. This, according to the complaint, creates a financial incentive for manufacturers to mix cotton byproducts and shorter fiber cotton with Pima cotton.
According to the suit, Pima cotton has extra-long staple “barbadenses” of roughly 1.2 and 1.44 inches. The case alleges that lab analysis performed on a Pima cotton product sold by Perry Ellis, one substantially similar or identical to the one bought by the plaintiff, showed that the garment contained significantly less Pima cotton than advertised in that there were no fibers exceeding 1.2 inches.
As the lawsuit tells it, even when adjusting for a 25 percent reduction of the fibers during manufacturing, the product would only contain, at most, 55 percent Pima cotton.
“These assumptions are generous and assume that all fibers within the lower limit length group of 1.120 inches exceed 1.2 inches, which is unlikely,” the lawsuit adds.
As the testing only measured the length of the cotton fibers, and not the polyester or non-cotton fabric components of the Perry Ellis product, the total number of fibers that would qualify as Pima cotton would be only 33.55 percent, according to the suit.
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