California Boutique Claims Ivanka Trump Brand Has ‘Unfair Advantage’

Even after Ivanka Trump took public steps to distance herself from the brand she founded nearly a decade ago, the connection between the first daughter and her eponymous label continue to be a source of contention.

Last week, California-based boutique Modern Appealing Clothing filed a suit against Ivanka Trump Marks LLC alleging unfair competition.

In its March 16 filing, Modern Appealing claims that Ivanka Trump’s brand gained an unfair advantage over other retailers “from Donald J. Trump being the President of the United States and from Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared, working for the President of the United States.”

The suit cites several examples that have also stirred controversy in the court of public opinion, including President Trump’s public condemnation of Nordstrom in a tweet in February, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway’s highly criticized “go buy her stuff” endorsement in the White House briefing room. (President Trump’s anti-Nordstrom tweet followed the retailer’s decision to discontinue carrying Ivanka’s line.)

While the lawsuit claims that the brand has reaped the benefits of Donald Trump’s presidential win — Modern Appealing alleges that Ivanka’s line gained an edge over its business within 24 hours of Trump’s November victory — the success of the Ivanka Trump collection has been uneven over the past year.

For example: Market research firm Slice Intelligence said online sales for the first daughter’s line of apparel, accessories and shoes dipped 26 percent in January 2017 relative to the same month last year. What’s more, the firm said the label experienced sales declines across all online merchants in the back half of 2016.

That evidence seemed to support the claims of several retailers — including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus — that dropped the first daughter’s line citing dimming sales.

Nevertheless, things for the brand seemed to take a turn for the better this month.

According to fashion e-commerce site Lyst, the Ivanka Trump Collection saw a serious boost in orders in February — a 346 percent gain compared with the prior month, to be exact — on the heels of the Kellyanne Conway’s controversial plug. Lyst said the brand sold the 11th most individual items on the site in February — an astronomical climb from January, when the brand ranked No. 550 in order count.

According to its suit, Modern Appealing Clothing owns and operates two boutiques in San Francisco and specializes in women’s apparel and accessories. The business has been in operation for nearly 40 years.

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