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Navajo Sues Urban Outfitters Over Tribe-Inspired Fashion Line


"When defendant uses the `Navajo' and `Navaho' marks with its goods and services, a connection with the Navajo Nation is falsely presumed."

The half-tucked-in look isn't working out here

The Navajo Nation has sued clothing company Urban Outfitters over its Navajo-inspired fashion line, months after the tribe first demanded the retailer pull their name from its merchandise.

According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Mexico accuses Urban Outfitters of trademark violations as well as violating the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits the sale of products that falsely imply they're made by American Indians.

"The fame or reputation of the Navajo name and marks is such that, when defendant uses the `Navajo' and `Navaho' marks with its goods and services, a connection with the Navajo Nation is falsely presumed," the lawsuit states, according to the AP.

As The Blaze previously reported, Urban Outfitters came under fire late last year for products including panties, flasks, necklaces and tops all with supposed "Navajo" designs. Opponents called the merchandise "demeaning and inappropriate" and complained to the company's CEO. Urban Outfitters removed the products from their stores and website, though the Navajo Nation claims similar merchandise is still available through the Urban Outfitters Inc.-owned Free People.

On Wednesday afternoon, a search for "Navajo" on the Free People website turned up two products, a bracelet and a shoulder bag, though without the word "Navajo" in their name or description. The bracelet is described only as a "vintage turquoise stone silver cuff with etched arrow detailing" and the bag is described as having a "colorful woven pattern."

Urban Outfitters did not immediately respond to the lawsuit, though spokesman Ed Looram previously said in October the company had no plans to alter its merchandise.

"Like many other fashion brands, we interpret trends and will continue to do so for years to come," Looram said. "The Native American-inspired trend and specifically the term `Navajo' have been cycling thru fashion, fine art and design for the last few years."

According to the AP, the lawsuit seeks financial compensation as well as an order permanently barring Urban Outfitters from using the name "Navajo" or any variations in its merchandise.

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