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!


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