Many times when we think of fashion, we do not immediately associate legal studies with it. Fashion Law, however, has been emerging as a branch of its own over the last decade. Although still a novelty, Fashion Law deals with complex issues that do not only touch upon Intellectual Property Law. In fact, the main requirement is versatility, which implies a background in licensing, entrepreneurship, sustainability, distribution, labor regulation, employment, corporate, contract, international or even real estate law, just to name a few.
A legal background, which includes a mandatory law degree, is however, not the only requirement. In fact, it is the interest in the industry that distinguishes a Fashion Lawyer from anyone else. An extensive knowledge of fashion, as well as cases connected to it, are vital no matter if you decide to work at a law firm, or as an in house council. Because such importance is increasingly recognised, many top law schools develop courses in fashion, that will actually count towards your law degree. One of the proofs of that is the establishment of the world’s first Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School in 2010.
You may ask however, what does a fashion lawyer actually do? The broadest answer would be: protects originality, creativity and art. This immediately implies IP law and protection of intangible assets by dealing with the issues of copyright, patents, or trademarks. The latter are considered the most important for the fashion industry as they help in avoiding confusion in the marketplace among consumers. However, there is much more to the image. A fashion lawyer does not only address and litigate trademark, and copyright issues. In fact, many times fashion law deals with crafting and negotiating contracts, branding development and protection, licensing, cooperation with business entities, as well as design protection consulting.
Overall, what emerges as a pattern, is an aggregation of above-mentioned issues together with the development of internet and social media. This implies that due to the increased and uncontrollable flow of data, the protection of your ideas becomes challenging. On the other hand, the counterfeit business thrives. This is one of the main motivations why there exists a place for fashion lawyers. Therefore, we can simplify to say that as long as the digital world keeps expanding, the brach of fashion law will follow.