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Aspen Skiing Co. Sues Luxury Brand Over ‘Influencer’ Photo Shoots

Aspen Ski Company filed a federal lawsuit against British brand Perfect Moment for using its likeness and locations for marketing its products — without getting Aspen's permission first.

aspen fashion weekAbove, a model at Colorado's Aspen Fashion Week in 2014. According to the Aspen Skiing Company, a British brand used images of Aspen ski areas on its apparel — without the company's permission; (photo/Shutterstock)
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If you’re looking to do a commercial photo shoot at an iconic ski resort, get it cleared with the owners first.

That’s a lesson that London-based skiwear maker Perfect Moment is learning firsthand. Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) filed a federal lawsuit against the luxury apparel maker in a Colorado district court last month. ASC is accusing it of sending “influencers” to Aspen ski resorts for photos that were used to sell its apparel online.

Moreover, some of the clothing actually featured images of the exclusive ASPENX Beach Club as graphics. A $790 jacket and matching $190 leggings both use an image of the club and were advertised by Perfect Moment with photos taken on the property — unbeknownst to its owners, the lawsuit said.

Now, Perfect Moment faces several allegations from ASC. They include trademark infringement and deceptive trade practices.

“Perfect Moment’s attempt to trade on ASC’s reputation and goodwill deceives consumers into believing that Perfect Moment is affiliated with or endorsed by ASC, causing ASC both monetary and reputational damage,” the company wrote in the lawsuit.

A Long-Standing Dispute

Perfect moment jacket featuring aspen skiing company and ASPENX; (photo/Perfect Moment)
(Photo/Perfect Moment)

The Aspen company’s dispute dates back to March 2021. That’s when the luxury ski brand first sent models wearing its skiwear to pose at Aspen ski resorts. Those photos were then used on the brand’s social media channels.

“Perfect Moment’s target demographic would recognize [the posts] as depicting ASC’s Resorts,” the lawsuit said.

Employees at Aspen Skiing Company soon realized what was happening. They sent a cease-and-desist letter to Perfect Moment. The British brand deleted “some, but not all” of the posts as a result, according to the suit.

Fast-forward to October 2023. That’s when Perfect Moment started selling clothing with images of Aspen ski resorts — without the company’s permission, ASC wrote. The London brand first hired American photographer Dede Johnston to shoot models at the exclusive ASPENX Beach Club, the suit said.

Models were wearing Perfect Moment apparel emblazoned with images of the expensive club, where admission can cost $450 and Dom Perignon is sold by the bottle, The Denver Post reported.

Aspen’s Demands

Perfect Moment allegedly sold the above clothing, which includes images of the ASPENX Beach Club, without the company’s permission, the lawsuit says; (image/ASC)

ASC sent another cease-and-desist letter. And this time, Perfect Moment seems to have removed the “infringing apparel” from its website. However, ASC has already spotted at least one customer wearing the clothing to one of its resorts.

Now, Aspen Skiing is seeking several legal remedies. They include the destruction of the “infringing apparel” and the removal of social media posts taken at Aspen Snowmass resorts. ASC also wants the forfeiture of profits generated from the alleged trademark infringements, and punitive damages to deter future “bad faith conduct.”

GearJunkie reached out to representatives for Aspen Skiing Company, but they declined to comment on the lawsuit. Neither Perfect Moment nor Johnston responded to requests for a statement.

ASC, known locally as Aspen SkiCo, operates four mountains in Colorado. Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass ski areas are all on the ASC pass. According to business tracker GrowJo, the company’s annual revenue is nearly $520 million.

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