Fashion law

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Fashion law is an 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 problems).[1] Some fashion lawyers work within the company, and others work outside the company for law firms.

Several American law and design schools have dedicated clinics and courses to its study.[2] In a 2008 article, Susan Scafidi, arguably 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.[3][4] Many other institutions have offered courses in the area of fashion law.[5] In 2013, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles launched its own Fashion Law Institute,[6] which consists of various curricular offerings, a new JD sub-concentration in fashion law, an annual symposium, and a "Fashion Law Intensive Summer Program."[7]

The New York City Bar Association has had a dedicated Fashion Law Committee since June 2011[8] and the New York County Lawyer's Association has had a Fashion Law Subcommittee since September 2011.[9]

Fashion houses and accessory designers require attorneys who understand the advantages and disadvantages of various types of intellectual property protection (especially in light of the "seasonal" nature of fashion),[10] the constantly-evolving landscape of counterfeit goods, the risk of threats from copyright trolls,[11] laws imposing "hazardous material" prohibitions for consumer products,[12] complications inherent in international supply chains,[13] industry-specific employment-law concerns,[14] and numerous other legal issues. But while advocates for fashion houses have agendas that may include using intellectual property protection to their maximum advantage, others have criticized such efforts.[15]


  1. ^ J. Maureen Henderson. ""Meet The Man Who Upholds The Laws Of Fashion" (October 4, 2011)". Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  2. ^ Geiger Smith, Erin. "In fashion circles, lawyers becoming sought-after accessories", Reuters, September 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-20-12. NYLS, for example, offers courses in the area of Fashion Law [1]
  3. ^ Fashion Law (September 29, 2008), Counterfeit Chic.
  4. ^ Fashion Law institute, Fordham University.
  5. ^ "The Center for the Study of Fashion, Law, and Society, Resources". 
  6. ^ Erin Geiger Smith. ""Law School Launches Program to Serve LA’s Booming Fashion Industry" (November 1, 2013)". Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  7. ^ "Loyola Law School, The Fashion Law Project". 
  8. ^ Colman, Charles (2011-06-08). "LAW OF FASHION Blog". Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  9. ^ "New York County Lawyers Association Launches Fashion Law Subcommittee : PitchEngine : Get the Word Out™". PitchEngine. 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  10. ^ "Business of Fashion, "Addressing Fashion’s Intellectual Property Conundrum" (Jul. 26, 2011)". 
  11. ^ "American Bar Association, "Copyright Trolls Are Never in Fashion: Copyright Infringement Suits and Strategies for Fighting Back" (May 24, 2013)". 
  12. ^ "American Apparel & Footwear Association, "AAFA Hails Effort to Reform Prop 65" (May 7, 2013)". 
  13. ^ "Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, The Business of International Fashion Law (Transcript of Feb. 28, 2013 Symposium) (published May 14, 2013)". 
  14. ^ Mears, Ashley (2011-09-14). "It's Fashion Week: Poor Models". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ "Charles E. Colman (NYU School of Law), "The TTAB's Dangerous Dismissal of 'Doubt'" (Nov. 1, 2013)".