Ralph Lauren Corp. tried to pull the wool over the eyes of customers who bought one of their pricey sweaters, a woman claims in a class-action lawsuit.
The sweater saga began in November 2019 when Texas resident Gloria Miramontes bought a women’s burgundy lightweight V-neck from a Ralph Lauren Polo Factory store in El Paso.
Miramontes believed the sweater was made exclusively of pima cotton based on the tags, which boasted, “Fine luxurious yarns crafted from Pima Cotton fibers distinguish this signature design, knit in a fine gauge stitch for lightweight comfort and an exquisitely soft hand,” court documents show.
Pima cotton is a higher-end product with a longer fiber than conventional cotton. It has a reputation for producing a smooth fabric that’s soft to the touch, wrinkle-resistant, and ultra-durable.
But consumers were short-changed, the Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit alleges, because the fibers in the sweater were a few tenths of an inch too short to be pima, which the US Department of Agriculture measures at 1.3125 inches long on average.
Lab tests proved the Ralph Lauren sweaters weren’t 100% pima cotton, said Miramontes’ attorney, Spencer Sheehan.
Miramontes claims she would not have forked over $39.99 if she had known it was not entirely pima, the suit says.
Pima cotton is typically more expensive, so “there is great incentive to mix cotton byproducts and shorter fibers with higher value longer fibers,” according to the court papers, which were filed in New York based on the Manhattan location of Polo’s headquarters, plaintiff’s attorneys said.
The Lauren V-neck sweater was sold in “thousands of locations,” according to the $5 million class action lawsuit, which includes customers from 19 states, including New York.
The Ralph Lauren Corp. declined comment. Lauren is not named individually as a defendant.