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Why Is Ivanka Trump's Brand Being Sued By An Indie Retailer?

Alexandra Ilyashov

Over the past few months, Ivanka Trump’s eponymous brand has been through a lot. It's been boycotted by customers; Ivanka herself is is no longer helming the company; stores have dropped its wares; and it’s experienced a surge on the resale market ( although, on a brighter note, searches for the brand skyrocketed last month). Now, it’s being sued. And the plaintiff might surprise — and, frankly, confuse — you.

Modern Appealing Clothing, a San Francisco-based luxury fashion boutique stocked with the likes of Dries van Noten and Comme des Garçons, filed a class action lawsuit against Trump's brand on Thursday. According to court documents, Ivanka Trump's namesake label has gained an unfair advantage thanks to Donald Trump becoming President, and because Ivanka and her husband, Jared, are now "working for the President of the United States." (You can read the suit in full, here.) It also claims that President Trump helped boost sales of his daughter's line by taking to on Twitte r after Nordstrom dropped her line, and that Kellyanne Conway did the same by urging Fox & Friends viewers to "go buy Ivanka's stuff" last month.

"Because plaintiff MAC [Modern Appealing Clothing] and defendant Ivanka Trump are both in the women's clothing and accessories business, they compete against one another," the plaintiff argues, according to SF Gate. It's worth noting, though, that Modern Appealing Clothing, which was founded in 1980 and currently has two S.F. locations, doesn't stock Ivanka's label. What's more, one could argue that it's not really a competitor, considering it's a multi-label boutique, not a standalone brand. (Not to mention, it's stocked with brands in a completely different, steeper price range than Ivanka-branded offerings.) Still, the puzzling lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, not just for Modern Appealing Clothing, but, rather nebulously, for women's clothing retailers in California. Additionally, the suit seeks an order that would prevent the Ivanka Trump brand from being sold in the state of California, per SF Gate.

Any actual competitive concerns aside, is this an attention-grabbing move on behalf of the Bay Area boutique? Possibly. But it could also a fairly roundabout way to hold the Trump administration accountable for economic injustices by taking legal action. It's something that's happened across industries since Election Day, given the President's unprecedented conflicts of interest (thanks to his wide-ranging ventures). And if Modern Appealing Clothing is not, in fact, trying to recoup financial losses, it's certainly one way to take a stand against ongoing concerns about the Trump family's various private business endeavors.

Ivanka Trump's brand could not comment on the matter at this time; we've reached out to Modern Appealing Clothing as well, and will update when we hear back.

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