Fashion law is a specialized area of law that deals with intellectual property (copyright and trademark law, including brand licensing), domestic and international business transactions, textiles, merchandising, employment and labor concerns, and customs (import/export issues). Traditionally, most fashion lawyers work for established fashion and luxury goods companies in major urban commercial centers such as New York City, Paris, London and Milan. Some fashion lawyers work within the company, and others work outside the company for law firms.
Fashion Law is a quickly growing legal specialty, and several American law and design schools have dedicated clinics and courses to its study. In a 2008 article, Susan Scafidi, the first U.S. law professor ever to offer a course in Fashion Law and later Director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law, wrote that Fashion Law was only then starting to be recognized as a distinct field. Since then, Deborah McNamara at Parsons The New School for Design, and Guillermo Jimenez at the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York, have also offered courses in Fashion Law. However, such courses remain rare. Several courses use the first English-language book on Fashion Law: "Fashion Law: A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives, and Attorneys" by Guillermo Jimenez, Esq., and Barbara Kolsun, Esq. The Kolsun and Jimenez book remained the sole book in English addressing fashion law until legal publisher West released "Navigating Fashion Law: Leading Lawyers on Exploring the Trends, Cases, and Strategies of Fashion Law" on December 30, 2011. The still-emerging nature of the discipline is further evident from the fact in America's fashion capital, New York City, the New York City Bar Association, did not have a dedicated Fashion Law Committee until June 2011; the New York County Lawyer's Association did not have a dedicated Fashion Law Subcommittee until September 2011. Fashion attorneys participate in a variety of legal activities and negotiate deals for their clients. The clients may be large retail chains, haute couture labels, high-fashion models, or an unknown designers just starting out. If and when the situation arises, a fashion attorney will litigate for his or her clients in court.
Fashion houses and accessory designers both face unique challenges specific to their industry. They require attorneys who understand the nature of short seasons and ever-changing product cycles, pressures surrounding counterfeit goods, and the issues of unfair competition. Valuable assets in the fashion business consist of not only intellectual property rights, but also trade arrangements, contracts, employment law issues, and information technology systems. A fashion attorney's career success may depend on being able to effectively protect these assets by delivering industry-specific legal advice tailored to the clients' needs.
Outside the United States, fashion law is also increasingly gaining recognition. In Brazil, the economy is booming and the country has become an important market for fashion, and not surprisingly, this new area of law follows this very same trend.
Famous quotes containing the words law and/or fashion:
“Concords little arch does not span all our fate, nor is what transpires under it law for the universe.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Men expect too much, do too little,
Put the contraption before the accomplishment,
Lack skill of the interior mind
To fashion dignity with shapes of air.
Luxury, yes but not elegance!”
—Allen Tate (18991979)