Fashion Law - Guide to Fashion Law

What is Fashion Law?

Fashion law refers to a specialized area of the law that deals with legal issues affecting the fashion industry. Primarily, fashion law relates to intellectual property rights (i.e., copyright and trademark law), contracts and commercial transactions (both domestic and international), employment and labor laws, and customs.

Although a highly focused sub-specialty, Fashion Law is a quickly growing field. Several American law schools and design schools have even dedicated programs to the topic of fashion law. This is an acknowledgment of the increasing need for attorneys specialized in the unique idiosyncrasies of the fashion industry as opposed to other, similar industry specialty fields like entertainment, arts, and sports law.

Fashion houses and designers now face unique challenges specific to their industry, requiring attorneys who understand the advantages and disadvantages of various types of intellectual property protection, particularly in light of the seasonal nature of the fashion industry. Moreover, the increased availability of counterfeit goods, such as “knock-off” designer handbags and dresses, the risk of threats from so-called “copyright trolls,” and laws relating to the use of "hazardous materials" in consumer goods have created interesting new challenges for the fashion industry and the fashion lawyer in particular. Similarly, the fashion industry deals with unusual international supply chain issues,and very specific employment-law concerns, such as the use of minors for fashion modeling or as labor in overseas factories. Consequently, while fashion law is a fairly new specialty area of practice, it is gaining momentum and sure to a major focus in years to come.

For more information about fashion law, please review the resources below. Additionally, you can find an attorney in your area who specializes in fashion law by clicking on the Law Firms tab on the menu bar, above.


Articles on Related to Fashion Law

  • Is the Selling of Pictures of Sculptures or Other Art Prohibited?
    The art world is full of fascinating pictures, sculptures, paintings and other works that capture various emotions or states of being. All too often, fans of these creations do not understand that they are not permitted to take copies or reproduce the items without permission from the creator. Sometimes, an individual is allowed to do so for private use only.
  • Copyright Registration – A Prerequisite for Infringement Litigation
    Registering copyrights is important in order to provide business owners and authors significant benefits, including statutory damages and reimbursement for attorneys’ fees, in the event someone infringes on their copyrights.
  • FINRA Investigations Under Rule 8210
    It is every registered person’s nightmare. You receive a letter from a FINRA office notifying you that you are the subject of a FINRA investigation.
  • Sharing Photographs: Excessive Copyright Demands
    Technological advancements in social media sites and website development tools have allowed users to easily share and discuss articles and photographs across the globe. In parallel with these technological developments, various organizations have sprung up that claim to represent owners of these shared photographs. These organizations send a letter and make an excessive copyright demand. Users must understand their rights before deciding whether to succumb to such excessive demands.
  • Can I Have Google Content Removed?
    As many people know, once information is on the Internet, it can stay there forever. However, some individuals have a legitimate interest in having certain information removed from the Internet, so they may pursue doing this through Google, the largest search engine at the time of publication. There is a certain process that individuals must usually follow in order to effectuate this, and Google does not guarantee that all unfavorable information will be removed.
  • Intellectual Property: 3 Legal Tools to Help You Protect Your Business Idea
    If the success of your small business rests with your intellectual property, then you should be very interested in how you can protect it. Filing for a patent can be costly and time-consuming; you may not be able to wait that long, especially if you need to share your idea with others for it to come to fruition.
  • When Is It Legal to Download Music, Movies, or Software Via Torrents on the Internet?
    Since the rise of the Internet, the illegal sharing of music, movies, and software have been an ongoing concern. Still, not every peer-to-peer network for sharing various forms of media is illegal, and some companies have even found it desirable to begin distributing materials in this fashion. So, when is it legal to download music, movies, or software via torrents on the Internet?
  • Intellectual Property Law: Understanding the Basics
    Intellectual property law is an intimidating subject for many business owners. Sure, you’ve heard horror stories about intellectual property being stolen… but that would never happen to you, right? Actually, if you’re in business long enough, there’s a very good chance that your ideas will be stolen. And if you don’t protect yourself, the consequences could be catastrophic.
  • Trademark Law and Copyright Law - Their Use by Celebrities
    Because of the value of even the simplest phrase, celebrities today are utilizing copyright and trademark law to protect their intellectual rights in instances rarely before noticed. It is Copyright and Trademark Law which requires their lawyers to send cease and desist letters to unsuspecting entrepreneurs. A balance needs to be restored so celebrities can proceed against large scale pirates even if they don’t aggressively seek to protect their intellectual property rights in every case.
  • Is it Illegal to Buy Counterfeit or Knockoff Designer Goods?
    Every year, millions of Americans visit the little bodegas and shops, often located in ethnic ghettos of large cities, to purchase counterfeit or knockoff designer goods. Others buy these items online, at flea markets, or dozens of other locations. Wherever one goes, there is some question as to the legality of such transactions. After all, one is knowingly buying a product that is a copy of a trademarked and copyrighted work. Is this legal?
  • All Business and Industry Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Business and Industry including: agency and distributorship, agency law, business and industry, business formation, business law, commercial law, contracts, corporate governance, corporate law, e-commerce, food and beverages law, franchising, industrial and manufacturing, joint ventures, legal economics, marketing law, mergers and acquisitions, offshore services, privatization law, retail, shareholders rights and utilities.

  • All Intellectual Property Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Intellectual Property including: copyright, domain names, licensing law, patents, trade secrets and trademark.

Fashion Law - US

  • AAFA - Anti-Counterfeiting and IPR Issues

    Congress and the Administration continue to be active on efforts to strengthen intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. A law (PL 109-81, Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods) that was enacted in March 2006 to provide tougher penalties for the trafficking in counterfeit hangtags and labels has already had some results and will continue to help law enforcers prosecute counterfeiters.

  • Design Law in the European Fashion Sector

    Following the entry into force of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement in the European Community, Dr. Fridolin Fischer, an attorney-at- law in Zurich, Switzerland, and author of “Kleidermode – Phänomen ohne Rechtsschutz?”, an analysis of legal protection for fashion designs, discusses in this article for WIPO Magazine the relevance of design law in the fashion sector.

  • Design Piracy Prohibition Act

    An Act to amend title 17 to the United States Code, to extend protection to fashion design, and for other purposes.

  • Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act

    Senator Schumer has introduced a new fashion design protection bill called the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act. The bill represents a compromise as compared to its highly problematic predecessor, the Design Piracy Protection Act (DPPA) which would have put 90% of independent designers out of business (and me along with them). The proposed new bill represents a compromise between the AAFA and CFDA. We also have your voices and advocacy to thank for making this possible.

  • Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act

    Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act - Amends the federal criminal code to revise provisions prohibiting the trafficking in counterfeit goods and services to include trafficking in labels or similar packaging of any type or nature, with knowledge that a counterfeit mark has been applied to such labels or packaging, the use of which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive.

  • United States Copyright Office - Protection for Fashion Design

    The Copyright Office submits this written statement to the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property in connection with the Subcommittee's July 27, 2006 hearing on H.R. 5055,

  • United States Patent and Trademark Office

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the Executive branch "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries."

Organizations Related to Fashion Law

  • American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA)

    The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market.

  • Arts of Fashion Foundation

    The new challenge for the American fashion industry as well as for education would be the adoption of a copyright law for fashion design with the Design Piracy Prohibition Act.

  • Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)

    The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc, (CFDA) is a not-for-profit trade association that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 350 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. In addition to hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards, which recognize the top creative talent in the industry, the organization offers programs which support professional development and scholarships, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Geoffrey Beene Design Scholar Award, the Liz Claiborne Scholarship Award, and the CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship. Member support is provided through the Business Services Network, a high-profile group of companies offering designers strategic opportunities.

  • Fashion Law Center

    The world of fashion may soon be substantially transformed by Congressional passage of a proposed new law known as the U.S. "Design Piracy Act." As every fashionista knows, the fashion industry thrives on trends and therefore on imitation. The question frequently arises, how much is too much? When does "inspiration" verge on theft? That Diane von Furstenberg knockoff you saw for sale at Forever 21 – is that legal? Today, U.S. law differs markedly from European Union law in that the U.S. does not provide for the legal protection of fashion designs. While certain elements of a garment or fashion item may be protected (trademarks, fabric prints, and accessories, for example), the actual design of a garment cannot be protected.

  • International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition

    The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted solely to protecting intellectual property and deterring counterfeiting. Our membership spans from automotive, apparel, luxury goods and pharmaceuticals, to food, software and entertainment. From the small privately owned companies to large multinationals, we share one common goal–to combat counterfeiting and piracy.

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