It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But Japanese fast fashion brand Uniqlo isn’t convinced, especially after it discovered fellow fast fashion retailer Shein is selling a shoulder bag that closely resembles Uniqlo’s popular round mini shoulder bag.
The inexpensive shoulder bag is often called the "Mary Poppins" bag because it can hold many items. Its popularity grew exponentially in the last couple of years due to the attention it received on TikTok.
On Dec. 28, 2023, Uniqlo's parent company, Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., filed a lawsuit against Shein for allegedly copying the bag. Here's what we know about the Uniqlo Mary Poppins shoulder bag lawsuit.
A lawsuit accuses Shein of ripping off Uniqlo's "Mary Poppins" shoulder bag.
In statement released by Fast Retailing on Jan. 16, 2024, the company accuses Shein Japan and two of its subsidiaries of violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Act for selling an “imitation” of the Uniqlo round mini shoulder bag.
“The sale of the imitation products by SHEIN significantly undermines the high level of customer confidence in the quality of the UNIQLO brand and its products,” the company statement reads. Uniqlo also put a notice on its website warning consumers of “counterfeit and imitation versions” of the round mini shoulder bag being sold “in outlets and on online shopping sites which are not at all related to Uniqlo.”
In its lawsuit filed in a Tokyo District Court, Uniqlo demands that Shein immediately cease sales of the “imitation products” and asks for compensation for damages resulting from the sales of the Shein products.
Shein representatives told CNN Business that they are “currently investigating” Fast Retailing’s claims. “Shein respects the intellectual property rights of others and takes all claims of infringement seriously,” a Shein spokesperson told CNN Business.
Uniqlo's round mini shoulder bag is viral for its massive capacity.
Uniqlo’s round mini shoulder bag has become a viral sensation over the past couple of years, with millions of TikTok creators sharing videos on how much stuff they can actually fit in the relatively small bag. The Uniqlo shoulder bags are reasonably priced at just under $20.
Just like Mary Poppins can pull out a lamp, hat stand, and other large items out of her bag, TikTok creators reveal, “What’s in my Uniqlo bag?” and pull out the myriad of contents their bags hold, including books, umbrellas, water bottles, tablets, and more. One woman even pulls a whole package of cookies, noise-canceling headphones, a bottle of perfume, a camera, an Epipen, and more out of her Uniqlo bag.
However, if you are concerned about being a more sustainable shopper, you may want to avoid buying the Uniqlo shoulder bag or Shein’s version of the bag.
Both companies are considered “fast fashion” retailers that prioritize quantity and trends over efficacy and sustainability. If you want your own Mary Poppins bag, we recommend buying one secondhand or finding something similar from another brand, such as the recycled nylon crescent bags from BAGGU.