How could we forget the 2012 Sketchers Shape-Ups (the “leg-toning” footwear) ad-campaign that seemed to magically transform Kim Kardashian’s calves into those of a tri-athlete? Certainly not the customers because Sketchers was sued by the FTC for false advertising. Angry buyers complained that they failed to receive the toned legs the advertisements promised. Sketchers ended up paying a $40 million settlement and had to issue a massive recall for the shoes.


This November, a similar situation occurred involving lingerie companies Wacoal and Maidenform‘s “anti-cellulite” shape wear. In their advertisements, Maidenform claimed the shapewear included caffeine in the fabric that would “release ingredients into your skin while you move.” The company piggybacked off of the new cellulite-reducing trend that claimed caffeine would amp up fat cells to burn themselves away.

Maidenform then continued to use the shape-wear and declared that the underwear will insert caffeine into the skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite; it will restore ceramides, maintain smoothness, and firm skin using retinol, among other assertions.

The Cut reports, “We should note that Retinol has been shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite over six months, but only when applied via prescription-level creams, not ‘microcapsules’ embedded in one’s underwear.”

Two New York women, who purchased the underwear in the hopes of slimming down, filed a class-action lawsuit against Warcoal and Maidenform in Brooklyn Federal Court, complaining about false advertising. The complaint read: “defendants’ misrepresentations, plaintiffs, and the class have suffered out-of-pocket losses, did not receive the benefit of the bargain and have been damaged.”

False advertising complaints such as this bring up two major questions for the fashion industry: when will companies stop trying to employ useless items that will bring disappointment to customers looking for unrealistic results?; when will women stop falling for these scams?

Text and photo reference via NY Mag & The Daily Beast

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