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Universal Standard sues Target over “Universal Thread” line

By Marjorie van Elven


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Plus-size label Universal Standard has filed a trademark infringement suit against Target Corporation. Target launched an inclusive denim-based line in January, called “Universal Thread”, which includes plus-size and adaptive clothing, apparel and accessories. Universal Standard argues that Target’s line “caused immediate confusion in the marketplace, with customers and media struggling to make a distinction between Universal Standard and Target’s low cost knock-off Universal Thread”, according to a statement issued by the label.

“After working fairly to develop our brand recognition, Target’s choice to enter the same market with a similar name while, essentially piggybacking on the startup we have worked so hard to build, is simply unjust,” said Universal Standard co-founder and CEO Polina Veksler. “Given the confusion, coupled with Target’s size and reach, Target’s size-inclusive denim and apparel line was seemingly created to exploit our brand’s cache by naming their brand with a name very closely resembling ours”.

“It’s a bit shocking that with so few brands in this space, a consumer giant like Target is seemingly propping itself up on the hard-earned reputation of an independent brand in an attempt to capitalize on false association”, added Alex Waldman, who founded the label alongside Veksler and serves as its creative director.

Founded in 2015, Universal Standard offers womenswear in sizes 10-28. The brand is best known for its Universal Fit Liberty program, in which customers can exchange items in case their weight fluctuates up to a year after the purchase. The company secured 7 million US dollars in funding in 2017, with investors such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Mysocosie (founder of footwear brand Toms) and Imaginary Ventures (the venture capital company led by Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter) taking part in the funding round.

FashionUnited has contacted Target for comment via email but received no reply until the publication of this article.

Picture: courtesy of Universal Standard

Universal Standard
Universal Thread