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EU Ends Antitrust Probe into Fashion Designers

 |  April 7, 2024

The European Union’s antitrust regulators have announced the termination of a two-year-long investigation into a group of fashion designers, citing “priority reasons,” the European Commission revealed on Friday.

The competition watchdog had initiated the investigation in May 2022, conducting raids on several fashion companies amid concerns of potential participation in a cartel to manipulate prices. While the specific companies were not disclosed, the probe was prompted by suspicions raised in an open letter circulated in 2020 by certain fashion designers advocating for sweeping changes within the industry to enhance environmental and social sustainability, sources with direct knowledge of the matter disclosed to Reuters.

The letter, endorsed by numerous renowned entities worldwide including Dries Van Noten, Thom Browne, Proenza Schouler, Lane Crawford, Mary Katrantzou, Gabriela Hearst, Altuzarra, and Missoni Group, underscored the necessity for fundamental shifts in sales periods and discount practices.

“The European Commission has decided to close its preliminary investigation into this matter for priority reasons. The closure is not a finding of compliance or non-compliance of the conduct in question with EU competition rules,” a spokesperson for the Commission stated.

However, the Commission emphasized the possibility of initiating a new investigation into the same conduct should fresh evidence emerge warranting further scrutiny. Companies found guilty of antitrust violations risk fines of up to 10 percent of their global annual turnover.

Source: Reuters