Saturday, September 29, 2012

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized $325,000 worth of Counterfeit Lee Jeans

On August 6, 2012, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized approximately $325,000 worth of Lee jeans at the New York/ New Jersey Port. These counterfeit items violated several different trademarks for clothing labels and corporate logos.

Fashion Legallaire's assessment: A fashion lawyer will be abreast on laws and regulations dealing with import, export, and trade.

Get more of the story here.

Wet Seal Workers Sue Retail Chain for Racial Discrimination

 Wet Seal allegedly fired a few African American Employees to fit the Wet Seal brand image. This is employment discrimination and a direct violation of  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. Therefore, employers cannot base decisions concerning hiring, firing, promotions, job opportunities, and compensation on an employee's or applicant's protected characteristics.

This past August in Los Angeles, California, three former employees of Wet Seal Inc. filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against the clothing store claiming that management fires African-American employees because they do not fit the retailer's brand image. The lawsuit was filed this past August in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. These former employees also allege that it is Wet Seal's policy and Practice to discriminate against African American store management employees as well as deny them pay and promotions.

Brad Seligman, attorney for the three plaintiff's said, "Wetseal perceived that it would reach white markets better if they had more white managers." He also said that one of the plaintiffs was told by her district manager that she was being fired literally because she is African American. However, Wet Seal says that it is an equal opportunity employer with a very diverse workforce and customer base.

This is not the first time a retail chain has been sued for racial discrimination. Back in December of 2005 int he case of Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch, a class action lawsuit was made against Abercrombie & Fitch for the discrimination to its Latino, African American, Asian American and female applicants and employees. The Plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit charged that they received racial discrimination that ended in unequal treatment in recruitment, hiring, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, and job termination. For example, the plaintiffs allege that minorities were disproportionately staffed in the stock rooms and on overnight shifts.

Below is a Wet Seal jean ad campaign

 Similar to the Wet Seal case, the plaintiffs also specifically charged A&F with refusing to hire applicants that did not have the "A&F Look." This look has been described as "white, young, male, and preppie." Also, the plaintiffs charged that Abercrombie selectively aimed their advertising efforts at consumers who had the "A&F" look.

Abercrombie did in fact violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for Employment discrimination. Consequentially, Abercrombie settled out of court paying $50 Million to the class members. Also, as part of the settlement, Abercrombie was required to establish internal hiring and recruiting procedures that encourage and maintain diversity in Abercrombie stores and in material its distributes. Under the terms of this decree, Abercrombie must affirmatively seek out applicants from a diverse background and advertise for employment in periodicals and media that target a diverse audience.

Fashion Legallaire's assessment: When a Fashion Lawyer works in-house counsel for a fashion company, it is not uncommon for  him or her to deal with employment law issues such as this kind.

Top Fashion Trends for 2012

Fall is in full effect. Many people already started making Halloween and Thanksgiving plans so that means that 2012 is coming to an end. Moreover, the fashions of 2012 are coming to an end. With the short trend and cycles and early premiers, the fashion world is naturally always two steps ahead of real time. Every year Fashion Week is to preview what's next in fashion statements and trends. So before 2012 runs out, let's look at the most popular trends for 2012.

Ladies first
  • peplums
  • studs
  • lace
  • dogtooth (print)
  • lace
  • leather
  • soft goth
  • futuristic
  • pretty grunge
  • color blocking
River Island
River Island
River Island
… and now for the Men
  • denim
  • camouflage
  • brouges
  • autumn knitwear
  • River Island

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fashion Legallaire's Designer Pick: Stephane Rolland

How fabulous is Stephanie Rolland? Not only is he my namesake (Stephane/Stephanie)  but his gowns are romantic, sexy, form illuminating, modern, and chic. Earlier this June, He donned his beautiful fashion designs down the Cite de L'architecture, one of the longest made runways in Paris.  This show (video right below) featured his famous 110 pound gown.

photo by Sam Schler
Photo by Sam Schler
...stay tuned for a special interview with a 2012 New York Fashion Week designer. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MTV Sued for $30 Million for Allegedly not Registering Logos in Latin America

When Sam Panama Trading Co. signed a licensing deal with Viacom and MTV Networks, the parent and network company duo, the plan was for Sam Panama to offer MTV products in 30 countries within Latin America and the Caribbean. However, this plan came to a halt when Sam Panama discovered that MTV and Viacom "never registered the licensed marks and logos in many of the territories," the complaint reads  Moreover, Sam Panama says that these products were seized by authorities as infringing the trademark, copyright, and proprietary rights of third parties; and that MTV and Viacom "knew or should have known that third parties had or claimed to have the right to use the licensed marks and logos. Sam Panama claims to have allegedly invested "many millions of dollars" producing and marketing the Merchandise and are most likely going to request monetary damages for alleged breach of contract.

Fashion Legallaire's Assessment: In the business of fashion, it is very important to register all logos and trademarks in every country in which that company expands. This will help put a foundation for the brand and will help fight against any third party infringement. Moreover, every country will have different laws and regulations that a fashion company will need to comply with in order to positively expand the brand there.

Get the fully story and more information here!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Should Maybelline Brush Up or Pay Up?

A court will have to decide the answer to this question. In recent fashion law news (like as in yesterday September 21st ) three women filed a complaint against the beauty power house for falsely advertising and overstating how long its Super Stay 14HR Lipstick and Super Stay 10HR Stain Gloss wears.

According to Carol Leebove, Wanda Santa and Denise Santiago, the lip wear fades after only a few hours even though "Maybelline leads consumers to believe that the lip wear stays vibrant and shiny, yet transparent and won't fade and has super staying power."
"The lawsuit alleges breach of warranty and violations of state consumer protection laws. Further, it seeks class action status, compensatory and triple damages, and other relief," says Jonathan Stempel of New and Insight at Reuters Legal. However. Rebecca Caruso, L'Oreal USA,  said that the company has not been served with the complaint and did not discuss ongoing litigation. If you were wondering, Maybelline is a New York based company within the unit of  L'Oreal which is based in Clichy France.

There will be more to come from this recent legal dispute but for now I want to get your opinion on this matter.  Both products sell for about $9. So would you sue a cosmetic company if you did not get the advertised result from your purchased lip wear? Just some thoughts to consider... litigation can be costly however, there are other alternatives that one may take in lieu of litigation. For example, returning products and contacting the business entity and giving them some polite and honest consumer feedback :) would be good alternatives.

Friday, September 21, 2012

BCBG sues Stretta for Copying its Herve Bandage Dress
Earlier this year in fashion law, a complaint has been filed by BCBG against Stretta for Trade Dress Infringement of its Herve Bandage Dress. BCBG is one of the exclusive sellers of the infamous Herve Leger dress and it alleges that Stretta describes its dress as made in the same factories as the authentic Herve Leger dress aka false advertisement.  The Stretta dress (featured on the right on Cassie and below) is lower priced and made of low quality fabric. You can read a copy of the complaint at More to come on this case. 

In the case of Louboutin v YSL, Red bottoms are officially Trademarked and Protected

In a U.S. Court of Appeal decision on Sept. 5, 2012, the court concluded that Christian Louboutin's red-bottom high heeled shoes are officially trademark protected because it does have a secondary meaning. Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am., Inc., 778 F. Supp. 2d 445, 451 (S.D.N.Y. 2011).
Secondary meaning applied in this case "means" that Louboutin's shoes are so synonymous with him and his brand that mostly everyone would know that a red-bottomed shoe is associated with him and his brand.

This decision reversed the District Court's holding that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry. However, this decision did not grant Louboutin the injunction against YSL that he requested inorder to stop YSL from selling his monochromatic red shoe.

Fashion Legallaire's assertion:  The court got it right because YSL did not make a shoe with just a red bottom, he made an "all red" or a "red-all over" shoe making it a different fashion design from Louboutin's. Therefore, the court is correct in that YSL's shoe would not be confused with Louboutin's as to dilute and infringe upon his design as to constitute design piracy (see last blog to learn more information on design piracy). 

Design Piracy Protection on Capitol Hill (Again)

I co-author on , another wonderful fashion blog, and this is what I had to say on this topic.
Will Design Piracy Protection finally Pass?
On September 12, 2012, Senator Charles Schumer of New York re-introduced modified legislation to protect fashion designs with copyright law in the United States. However, this is not the first attempt for this bill. The bill is entitled Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA). Earlier versions of the IDPPPA, which would extend copyright protection to fashion designs, were turned down even with full support from Fashion Industry groups such as the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Council for Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). (modification to the legislation can be found 
The fashion industry is a trillion dollar business and everyday a lot of entrepreneurial hardwork, originality, and money is victim to design counterfeiting and pirating. Fordham Law Professor Susan Scafidi, Director of the Fashion Law Institute, said that the IDPPPA “is a significant step forward for both the U.S. intellectual property law and for the fashion industry.”
On the other hand, opponents of the IDPPPA say that it will put many small businesses out of business by severely disrupting the manufacturing process; increase the cost of affordable clothing; and deter innovation in the fashion world. Also, some scholars say that nothing in fashion is original- each idea is developed and inspired from a former idea, therefore, this bill will essentially stifle fashion design creativity . 
Just reaching the Senate, this bill will have to be accepted and moved to the House of Representatives before we get the know whether it passes or not, so check back here for more updates. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What is Fashion Law?

When I tell people about fashion law they usually respond, "What is fashion law? I have never heard of it." To much surprise, fashion law has been in existence for a long time, however it may not have had the title. Reasoning behind its long existence is that designers, models, distributors, manufacturers, retail stores, attorneys, and licencors negotiate, draft, and fight over contracts and business deals all the time. For this is the business of fashion.

Fashion law deals with intellectual property (copyright and trademark law brand licensing), domestic and international business transactions, textiles, merchandising, real estate, employment and labor concerns, and customs.

Traditionally, fashion lawyers work for luxury housed goods in urban fashion cities such as New York and Paris; but today fashion lawyers also work  with start up fashion companies and designers all over the world. Fashion lawyers help their clients negotiate deals, build and maintain their brands, and even litigate (argue) for them in court. Therefore, a fashion lawyer must understand the nature of short seasons and trend cycles within fashion, must be ready to combat the pressures of counterfeiting and unfair competition, and must be well versed and stay abreast in the legal areas of intellectual property, contracts, business, trade, and information technology.

Although fashion law is a small niche, these attorneys are highly sought after and sophisticated fashion companies will surely invest in a fashion lawyer- not only to deal with the aforementioned legal issues but other issues such as advertising and real estate.

Right now there are only a handful of legal institutions that cater to the education and growth of fashion law such as Fordham Law located in New York which hosts the first ever fashion law institute in the United States.

So now that you have a basic understanding of what fashion law is, you think it's cool huh? Well after explaining fashion law's foundation, people usually respond: Wow how fascinating!

Infamous Introduction

Hello to all and Welcome to my Fashion Law Blog!

My name is Stephanie, and as the saying goes, I have a fashion for passion. But I am also passionate about law, business, and technology. 

I'm excited to share my fashion law blog with you so just sit back and enjoy.  

The content of this blog are for educational purposes only and are not legal advice. 

you can also check me out on, another wonderful fashion blog where I write as a co-author. 

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