“Wear this shirt as a PUBLIC DECLARATION that you are,” the Lions Not Sheep Facebook page adds.
But even though the labels on those shirts say “Made in the USA,” the company’s products are actually imported from other countries, according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint.
“Stop making false Made in USA claims, and [come] clean on foreign production,” the commerce commission said in a statement in late July announcing action against Lions Not Sheep.
Now, the Utah-based clothing brand and its owner, Sean Whalen, have been ordered to pay a $211,335 fine and stop “Made in USA fraud,” according to the FTC.
“Companies that affix false Made in USA labels to imported products are deceiving their customers and undermining honest businesses, and we will hold these companies and their executives accountable for their misconduct,” said Sam Levine, Director of the Office of Protection. of FTC consumers. May when the shares are announced.
Whalen and Lions Not Sheep did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post. However, the brand responded to the FTC’s announcement in an Instagram post earlier this year, saying, “Our t-shirts are printed in the USA! Our hats are embroidered in the USA.
“I’m proud to have built a company from a single tee out of blood, sweat, and tears that employs dozens of hard-working Americans,” the post states. “A lot of people who haven’t done much still have a lot to say, but at LNS we work hard to keep growing and supporting our first responders, our military, and all patriots around the world.”
The journey from fabric to t-shirt – like the one featuring Donald Trump as a Terminator above the words “I’ll be back” – begins overseas, the company is now revealing on its website. Manufacturers in China, Colombia or Bangladesh create blank garments and ship the items to US facilities, where they are “printed, embroidered, labeled, tagged and packaged” before being sent to Lions Not Sheep headquarters, says the company’s website.
But the FTC says that to qualify for the “Made in USA” label, articles can only include “a negligible amount of foreign content.”
According to the complaint, Lions Not Sheep not only falsely marketed its products as “100% AMERICAN MADE,” but went a step further by swapping out the original tags on the clothes.
In October 2020, Whalen shared a video on social media in which he said he “could disguise the fact that his shirts are made in China by ripping off the original tags and replacing them with tags stating that the merchandise was manufactured in the United States,” according to the FTC.
“That’s how it works,” he said in the video.
“Whalen and Lions Not Sheep must stop claiming that products are made in the United States unless they can prove that the final assembly or processing of the product – and any significant processing – takes place here and that all or almost all ingredients or components of the product are manufactured and purchased here.
The rare fashion brand that’s adored by women in the Trump world and isn’t afraid to show it
Lions Not Sheep is a name that draws from a popular conservative stance — a stance that has gained prominence during the pandemic by disparaging those who have adhered to strict health guidelines as followers or “sheep.” The brand often offers products with right-wing messages.
A recent Instagram ad for “Shall Not Be Infringed” t-shirts was captioned with the text of the Second Amendment. Other pieces of clothing include phrases like “Give Violence A Chance”, “One Nation Under God” and “Let’s Go Brandon”, a derogatory reference to President Biden.