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Shein Suing Equally Deplorable Fast Fashion Competitor Temu

In a strange turn of events, two of the most deplorable names in the fast fashion industry have turned against each other. Shein and Temu have been at war with one another since last summer, when Shein took legal action against Temu for alleged trademark and copyright infringement. This resulted in Temu clapping back with a lawsuit of their own, alleging unfair and unlawful competitive practices against Shein. Of course, the whole situation is a little humorous to outsiders because these companies are essentially suing each other for things they have both been accused of doing to others for years.

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Shein is the world’s largest fashion retailer and presents itself as a game-changer in the industry, offering a seemingly endless rotation of new styles for customers at incredibly low prices. However, its cheap prices come with steep costs. The rate at which Shein churns out new designs and the low prices they sell them at is simply not sustainable. As a result, Shein has had to cut some corners to make it possible, including overworking and underpaying workers in Chinese factories in violation of Chinese labor laws, having potential ties to forced labor, and stealing the designs of dozens of independent designers and fashion brands. Most recently, Shein got hit with a serious Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit filed by three independent designers who had their work stolen by the company.

Meanwhile, Temu isn’t much better. Recently, the U.S. Congress warned about the very high likelihood that Temu’s offerings are produced from forced labor in violation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). One study found that, together, Temu and Shein import 600,000 packages per day to the U.S. that are under $800, thus avoiding tariffs and inspections, potentially hiding connections to forced labor. Temu has also faced accusations of copyright infringement for copying Amazon storefronts.

Now, after both being accused of shady business practices and stealing from other brands, sellers, and designers, Shein and Temu are going after each other for the same reasons.

Shein and Temu competition escalates to the legal realm

Of course, Shein and Temu are fiercely competitive. Temu poses the most risk to Shein because it is a fairly new retailer that, in just one year, has managed to present itself as a viable competitor to giants in the industry like Shein, Amazon, and Wish, all of which have been around for over a decade. Temu wants to keep expanding its influence on U.S. markets, while Shein wants to maintain its dominance, which has created an intense feud between the two. Shein took the first step legally, filing an impersonation scheme lawsuit against Temu, alleging the company used Shein’s trademarks and copyrighted images and even impersonated the brand on social media to increase sales.

Temu responded with an antitrust lawsuit, claiming Shein had engaged in anti-competition measures, including allegedly requiring all of their 8,338 manufacturers to refuse to supply products to Temu. The antitrust suit also claimed that Shein’s lawsuit was another anti-competitive scheme to disrupt Temu’s expansion and maintain its own “monopoly” on the fashion industry. Last month, things heated up when Shein managed to nab a temporary restraining order against Temu in the copyrighted images case. However, the two brands will be battling over Temu’s antitrust lawsuit in court soon.

It’s quite a strange case, considering the absurdity of Shein and Temu both pretending they care about fair business practices and copyright laws after allegedly violating them left and right. The one good thing that might come of this battle, is that a court battle means both companies will likely have to share internal documents with lawyers. Considering how shady both of these companies are, it almost seems inevitable that they’re both going to be opening a can of worms with the investigation and the scrutiny that arises from a court battle. Hopefully, the immense greed that led these two companies to embark on a legal battle will be their downfall.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.