Fashion law is a legal field encompassing issues that arise throughout the life of an article of clothing or a fashion accessory. Fundamental issues in fashion law include intellectual property; business and finance, with subcategories ranging from employment and labor law to real estate; international trade and government regulation, including questions of safety and sustainability; dress codes and religious apparel; consumer culture; privacy and wearable tech; and civil rights. Fashion law also includes related areas such as textile production, modeling, media, and the cosmetics and perfume industries. 
Fashion has been subject to legal regulation throughout history, from sumptuary laws that limit who can wear certain garments to trade restrictions and varying degrees of intellectual property protection. However, the conceptualization of fashion law as a distinct legal field is relatively recent. At Fordham Law School in 2006, Professor Susan Scafidi offered the first course in Fashion Law, defining the field, and in 2008 wrote that fashion law was only then starting to be recognized as a distinct area of law. A University of Geneva thesis was published on ‘’La Droit International de la Mode’’ in 2000, but it did not receive wide distribution.
In 2010, the world's first academic center dedicated fashion law, the Fashion Law Institute, launched with the support of Diane von Furstenberg and the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Since then, a number of other institutions around the world have offered courses or programs in the area of fashion law. These include the University of Milan, the University of Insubria, the Instituto Brasileiro de Negócios e Direito da Moda, University at Buffalo Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York Law School, New York University, the Fashion Law Project at Loyola Law School, the Moda Hukuku Enstitusu in Turkey, and the annual Fashion Law Week at Howard University.
Fashion law has also developed into an established field of practice and study. The New York City Bar Association has had a dedicated Fashion Law Committee since January 2011 and the New York County Lawyer's Association has had a Fashion Law Subcommittee since September 2011.
Intellectual property protection has been a substantial legal concern in fashion since the emergence of fashion brands in the 19th century. It has been the subject of congressional debate, multiple academic articles, and the first fashion law blog, as well as a major exhibit at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Key issues include
- the scope of copyright protection,
- trademark infringement and counterfeit goods,
- utility patents, particularly in connection with advances in technology,
- the use of design patents as an alternative or supplement to copyright protection, and
- comparative international standards.
Financing and Corporate Structures
Fashion law encompasses the broad spectrum of issues pertinent to starting and funding a fashion business, such as
- the widespread use of factoring,
- the influx of private equity investment, and
- initial public offerings by major fashion brands.
Legal issues in the production of clothing and accessories include
- worker safety and other labor practices,
- garment district zoning, and
- source indication,.
Legal issues addressed in connection with marketing include
Legal issues connected with the retail environment include
- consumer data privacy and the security of credit card information,
- discrimination based on racial profiling, and
- real-estate leasing and ownership.
Ethics, Sustainability, and Economic Development
Concerns pertaining to fashion ethics, sustainability and economic development have had a substantial impact on the industry, affecting both the legal framework and self-regulation initiatives. Important issues have included
- organic certification,
- supply-chain monitoring and certification standards, such as the Higg Index and SA8000 certification.
- the regulation of digitally altered images,
- fair trade fashion, and
- the impact of philanthropic initiatives and clothing donation programs, such as the buy-one-give-one business model.
In addition to the international implications of issues notes above, fashion law also addresses other matters connected to international business transactions, including
- grey market goods
- import and export quotas,
- transfer pricing taxation, and
- customs duties.
The legal status of models has become a prominent issue in fashion law, as exemplified by
- The regulation of models' weight in places such as Madrid, Milan, and Israel,
- New York's enactment of a statute giving underage models protection under the state's child labor law,
- antitrust enforcement in relation to model pay rates, and
- efforts to curb fashion-related human trafficking.
Fashion Law Websites
CounterfeitChic.com, the first fashion law website, was launched in 2005 and subsequently featured by the New York Times and the American Bar Association. Since then, numerous websites dedicated to fashion law have been created by attorneys, law firms, and law students. Prominent fashion law websites have included
- A Preponderance of Fashion
- Asian Fashion Law
- Canada Fashion Law
- CaseClothesed for Fashion Law
- Counterfeit Chic
- Fashion & Apparel Law Blog
- Fashion Cloture
- Fashion Counsel with Anthony Lupo
- The Fashion Law
- The Fashion Industry Law Blog
- Fashion Law (Denmark)
- The Fashion Law & Business Report
- Fashion Law Center
- Fashion Law Notes
- Fashion Legallaire
- Femme Legale
- Law of Fashion
- Law of Luxury Goods and Fashion Blog
- Wigs and Gowns
Websites not dedicated exclusively to fashion law but regularly covering legal issues that pertain to the fashion industry have included
- The Business of Fashion
- Likelihood of Confusion
- The Trademark Blog
- Women's Wear Daily
- Scafidi, Susan (2014). "Introduction: Fashion Law Triumphant - Designing Success in a New Legal Field". Navigating Fashion Law: Leading Lawyers on Developing Client Brands in a Changing Market and Monitoring Key Legal Developments (2015 ed.). Thomson Reuters. ISBN 978-0-314-29318-3., p. 8.
- Furi-Perry, Ursula (2013). The Little Book of Fashion Law. American Bar Association. ISBN 978-1-62722-111-5., pp. iii-xii.
- Faux, David, ed. (2013). The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Fashion Design. American Bar Association. ISBN 978-1-62722-319-5., pp. 2-12.
- Jimenez, Guillermo; Kolson, Barbara, eds. (2014). Fashion Law: A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives and Attorneys (2nd ed.). Fairchild Publications. ISBN 978-1-60901-895-5., pp. iii-xii.
- Herzeca, Lois; Hogan, Howard (2013). Fashion Law and Business: Brands and Retailers. Practicing Law Institute. ISBN 978-1-4024-2051-1..
- Huan, Alan (1996). Governance of the Consuming Passions: A History of Sumptuary Law. St. Martins Press. ISBN 978-0-31212-922-4.
- Beebe, Barton (2010). "Intellectual Property Law and the Sumptuary Code". Harvard Law Review. 123 pages=809-889.
- "Couture in the Classroom". 20 August 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Scafidi, Susan. "Fashion Law". Counterfeit Chic date=29 September 2008 accessdate=11 December 2014.
- Tschorn, Adam (10 September 2010). "Fordham University launches Fashion Law Institute, a first for the Industry". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- Belhumeur, Jeanne (2000). La Droit International de la Mode (in French). Canova Società Libraria Ed. ISBN 978-8-88409-021-8.
- Fashion Law,
- Aurucci, Paola. Corso di Perfezionamento in Fashion Law, Vogue Italia, 16 January 2014. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- "Quem Somos", Fashion Business & Law. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- "Spring 2014 Course Descriptions", SUNY Buffalo Law School. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- "Fashion Law Practicum", Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- "Courses", New York Law School. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- “Law & Business”, NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- Belgum, Deborah. Loyola Law School Carves Out a Program for Fashion Law, ‘’California Apparel News’’, 13 December 2013. Retrieved on 12 December 2014.
- “Course Descriptions”, Loyola Law School. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- Moda Hukuku Enstitutsu. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- Fashion Law Week. Retrieved on 16 November 2014.
- Geiger Smith, Erin (11 September 2012). "In fashion circles, lawyers becoming sought-after accessories". Reuters. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "Law Gets Fashionable As Lawyers Learn To Love Litigation". Agence France Press. 16 November 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "City Bar Creates New Committee on Fashion Law". 44th Street Blog. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
- "New York County Lawyers Association Launches Fashion Law Subcommittee : PitchEngine : Get the Word Out™". PitchEngine. 2011-11-02. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
- Stewart, Mary Lynn (2005). "Copying and Copyrighting Haute Couture". French Historical Studies 28: 103.
- "A Bill to Provide Protection for Fashion Design: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, Second Session on H.R. 5055". U.S. Government Printing Office. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Scafidi, Susan (2008). "F.I.T.: Fashion as Information Technology". Syracuse Law Review volume=59 page=69.
- Raustiala, Kal; Sprigman, Christopher (2006). "The Piracy Paradox: Innovation and Intellectual Property in Fashion Design". Virginia Law Review. 92 page=1687.
- Mitchell, Dan (22 August 2006). "Fashion's Cutthroat Edge". New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "The Ladies of Fashion Law!". B.A.F.F.L.E.D.: Business Advice - Fashion Facts - Law and Entertainment Domain. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Rosenfeld, Austin (2 December 2014). "From Collaborations to Counterfeits: "Faking It" Opens at the FIT Museum". Style.com. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Knockoffs and Fashion Design Protection url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z347SXVJAAE". The Museum at FIT. 9 December 2014.
- "An Insider's Perspective on the Counterfeit Industry url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is9Hxn7Wr5w". The Museum at FIT. 9 December 2014.
- Elings, Roxanne; Keith, Lisa; Wukuson, George (2013). "Anti-Counterfeiting in the Fashion and Luxury Sectors: Trends and Strategies". World Trademark Review. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Smith, Ray (25 April 2012). "Hunting for Fashion's Copycats". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Garber, Megan (3 November 2014). "The First Bra Was Made of Handkerchiefs". The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Pasquarelli, Adrianne (10 March 2014). "Fashion Firms Try Wearable Tech". Crain's New York. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Geiger Smith, Erin (12 September 2013). "Fashion Designers Look to Patents to Fight Knockoffs". Reuters. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Scafidi, Susan (2006). "Intellectual Property and Fashion Design". In Yu, Peter. Intellectual Property and Information Wealth 1. Praeger.
- Stancati, Marguerite (10 May 2010). "Hindu Goddess Swimsuit Sparks Outrage". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Scafidi, Susan (2005). Who Owns Culture?. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-81353-606-4.
- Baker, Katie J.M. (13 November 2012). "A Much-Needed Primer on Cultural Appropriation". Jezebel. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Hand, Doug (27 June 2009). publisher=Council of Fashion Designers of America "Is Factoring Going Out of Fashion II". Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Binkley, Christina (11 December 2014). "High Fashion Investment: Inside Jason Wu's Lessons from Private Equity". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Clark, Evan (9 September 2014). "Brands in the Crosshairs: Private Equity Sets Sights on Fashion". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Clark, Evan (25 March 2012). "Michael Kors Valuation Sets New Fashion Standard". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Zain al-Mahmood, Syed (20 November 2013). "Safety Groups Agree on Standards for Bangladesh Garment Factories". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Urbina, Ian (22 December 2013). "U.S. Flouts Its Own Advice in Procuring Overseas Clothing". Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Sussman, Nadia (25 March 2011). "Triangle Fire: In Search of Sweatshops". New York Times.
- Bagli, Charles (19 August 2009). "New York Seeks to Consolidate Its Garment District". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Donadio, Rachel (12 September 2010). "Chinese Remake the 'Made in Italy' Fashion Label". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts". Federal Trade Commission - Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "AAFA Hails Effort to Reform Prop 65". American Apparel & Footwear Association. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Richardson, Jeremy. "Licensing in the Fashion & Childrenswear Industries". Phillips Nizer LLP. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "L'Oreal Settles Over Ads That FTC Said Were Deceptive". Reuters. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Sullivan, Mark (13 June 2014). "Health Apps Could Be Heading Into A HIPAA Showdown". VentureBeat.com. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Robinson, Teri (11 December 2014). "Neiman Marcus Asks Court to Deny Data Breach Suit Appeal". SC Magazine for IT Security Professionals. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Barneys Case Stirs Talk on 'Shopping While Black'". Crain's New York. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Kopon, Francine (27 January 2013). "Eaton Centre to Expand for Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship and Include The Bay". The Star. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Global Organic Textile Standard". Ecolabel Index. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Justian, Eric (19 September 2013). "FTC Green Guides Report Helps Marketers Avoid the Pitfalls of Greenwashing". Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Clifford, Stephanie (1 September 2013). "Fast and Flawed Inspections of Factories Abroad". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Erlanger, Steven (2 December 2009). "Point, Shoot, Retouch and Label?". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Clifford, Catherine (17 October 2013). "First Coffee, Now Fashion: Apparel Brands Seek Fair Trade Certification Despite Challenges". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "TOMS Shoes and the 'Buy One, Give One' Business Model". The Madeleine Brand Show - 89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Bose, Nandita; Bhattacharjee, Nivedita (2 August 2012). "Analysis: India's Online Grey Market for U.S. Clothing Brands". Reuters. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- "Cotton Exporter's Guide". International Trade Centre. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Levy, Marc (28 September 2012). "Tax, Transfer Pricing, and Customs Issues Facing the Industry". BakerMcKenzie.com. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "Clothing, Footwear, and Fashion: International Trade Regulations". UK Trade & Investment. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Povoledo, Elisabetta (15 September 2006). "Milan Wants to See More Meat on Models". New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Nota, Bruno (3 January 2013). "Israeli Law Bans Skinny, BMI-Challenged Models". Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Greenhouse, Stephen (23 December 2013). "A New Alliance Steps Up to Protect the Next Generation of Models". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Spindler, Amy (2 December 1994). "Trade Commission is Investigating How Designers Set Fees for Models". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Catsoulis, Jeannette (4 September 2012). "Little Cover Girls Star in an Adult Reality". New York Times. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "The 2009 ABA Journal Blawg 100". ABA Journal. 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Ambrogi, Robert (22 October 2013). "Fashion Law Blogs are All the Fashion". Law Sites. Retrieved 13 December 2014.