Coachella Sued Urban Outfitters For Trying To Cash In On Those Festival Vibes

It's nearly impossible to avoid the annual onslaught of Coachella-themed merch that sprouts up in store after store, months in advance of the festival's April dates. Some of it veers into culturally appropriative, offensive territory, while most is simply comprised of tailored-for-the-'gram, vaguely boho-ish garb. (And, let's be real, those crop tops, chokers, or rompers are just as likely to be worn to, say, the local pool instead of to the actual festival.) But forget any mere fatigue over the aesthetic that Coachella hath wrought: Urban Outfitters has gotten into some legal trouble for using the music fest's name to peddle sheer lacy tops, boots, and more.
On Tuesday, Coachella's parent company, Goldeneye, filed a lawsuit in California alleging that Urban Outfitters is infringing on the festival's trademark by selling Coachella gear. The suit hones in on four incriminating pieces, all from Free People, which is a subsidiary of Urban Outfitters: a tunic, pair of boots, minidress, and tank. (The items in question have since been removed from Urban Outfitters' and Free People's sites.) The retailer is even getting in trouble for how it's accruing views (and, potentially, sales) for these festival branded items: The suit points out that Urban Outfitters is "trading on the goodwill and fame" of the festival by using its name in the URL links as well as the search keywords for those items in question.
The festival's parent company first filed a cease-and-desist letter to get the retailer to stop using its name back in April 2016. (That same month, Free People got called out for its "Festival Shop," complete with blonde, white models and headdresses.) In the suit filed this week, it is asking for unspecified damages, and also for Urban Outfitters to issue "corrective advertising" clarifying that it's not, in fact, selling official Coachella threads, per WWD.
However, not all Coachella-dubbed gear is as litigious. Some threads that bear the festival's name are, in fact, officially-branded goods: H&M and Pandora have licensing agreements with Coachella, so the suit claims that the fact that Urban Outfitters is using the event's name might "deceive consumers" or create unfair competition.
"We cannot comment regarding ongoing litigation," a Free People rep told Refinery29 regarding the suit. We've reached out to Urban Outfitters as well, and will update when we hear back. And for those who are so over Coachella-centric-everything, well, the selection of follower-friendly, flower child-vibes gear just got ever so slightly narrower...

More from Stores

R29 Original Series