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  • VM Staff

Selima Brings Class Action Suit to Kering Over ‘Made in Italy’ Eyewear Claims

NEW YORK—Boutique optical retailer and wholesaler Selima Optique, Inc. is taking aim at the country of origin labeling practices of luxury brand eyewear supplier Kering Eyewear and its parent, Kering S.A. (KER: PA). The civil action lawsuit was filed “on behalf of itself and those similarly situated” against Kering S.A., Kering Eyewear and others here on June 13 in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. The suit is a class action complaint claiming “false advertising, unfair com

petition, negligent representation, fraud and unjust enrichment,” according to the court documents, pertaining to the “false and misleading” labeling of certain Kering designer brand eyeglasses and sunglasses as “Made in Italy.” The plaintiff requested a jury trial of its claims. The complaint reads, “Defendants are deceiving their wholesale clients, who are at risk of losing their goodwill and trust from retail customers, by selling them misrepresented products.” The papers read that “defendants lead consumers to reasonably believe that their products are actually made in Italy. In truth, defendants’ products or substantially all parts of their products are made in China, and (at best) shipped to Italy for final assembly and packaging and then exported.” The suit states that Selima Salaun, founder of Selima Optique, and the head of operations placed an order in person for YSL, Gucci, Tomas Maier, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Brioni eyewear from a Kering Eyewear showroom in October 2016. A package containing YSL-branded eyeglass frame was delivered to Selima in February 2017 and was marked “Made in China” on one temple and “Made in Italy” on the other temple. After calling to bring the issue to the company’s attention, Salaun was told the Made in China stamp was a manufacturing mistake. The court document says that Selima intends to make additional purchases of Kering Eyewear products, however,” the plaintiff has no way to determine prior to its purchases whether the products sold by defendants are genuinely made in Italy. Thus, in the absence of the injunctive relief requested in this complaint, plaintiff is likely to be deceived in the future.” The class action allegations asserts claims on behalf of the plaintiff and of the New York wholesale purchasers subclass and the New York competitor subclass for defendants’ violation of the Lanham Act and New York General Business Law and states that the plaintiffs’ claims are typical of all members of the classes. The plaintiff is seeking the court’s affirmation “that the action may be maintained as a class action, that the Court determine false and misleading statements and practices and that the plaintiff and classes recover their damages—and up to three times their damages which include lost revenue, lost profits, lower business value, lost goodwill and reputation of the plaintiff and classes.” In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for Kering Eyewear told VMail, “All luxury products of Kering Eyewear are made in Italy and all of those luxury products are labelled in compliance with the applicable laws. Depending on the country where they are to be delivered, frames need to be stamped or not stamped with ‘Made in..’ This ‘Made in’ stamps are done in a warehouse; so we when we receive from our vendors/supplies in the region of Veneto, we then stamp, depending on where we are shipping the frames.” She continued, “U.S. frames need to be stamped ‘Made In’. What happened in this case was that an allotment of Puma frames received by the warehouse had been previously been stamped ‘Made in China.’ Another 21 pairs of other various luxury brands of glasses were stamped ‘Made in China’ when they’d already been stamped ‘Made in Italy.’ So Selima received one pair stamped with both. When Kering realized that happened, it apologized for the mistake and for all the clients involved, offered to exchange the product and send the new certificates to customers that the luxury frames were made in Italy. All the customers accepted the exchange except for Selima.” The spokesperson added, “Kering Eyewear intends to defend its rights in this case.”

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