Monday, February 13, 2017

Let's Celebrate

History For Black History

Happy Monday morning!

Today I would like to acknowledge Black History Month and a group of women who recently made history with a rare trademark approval. Trademarks are huge in the fashion industry. They are used to indicated the source from which the apparel or accessory derived.   **  Trademarks are names, words, or images that communicate to individuals a connection with a source. This source can be many things, including but not limited a person, company, and now a sorority.
Earlier this year, the Women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.(AKA) made history, by trademarking their personal greeting. The greeting, used exclusively among members, is "Skee wee". This sound, is a high pitched squeal used by members of AKA to call attention to one another. Just in time for Black History Month, we can raise a glass of sparkling juice or fermented grapes, and say “congratulations”. The women AKA, were the first African-American founded sorority in 1908. Since then, there have been many more amazing sororities and fraternities created by people of color to recognize professionalism, character, service, integrity, and all those things that make their members great.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, on this day I am glad to note that Intellectual property law is more than technical support, nail polish, zippers, and screws; it is history unfolding before our eyes.
Regardless of what source you are affiliated with, I believe we can all say “well done ladies, you have made history”. Additionally, no matter your race, I encourage you to read more into what makes your culture/ethnicity GREAT.

Until next time…

Monday, February 6, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Ethics
Are Your Clothes Made With Integrity…?
Happy Monday Loves,
What I am about to report will be shocking, disappointing and for some, unbelievable. When was the last time you took a look at your tag to check what country this piece was made in? After last week’s blog posting (, I had a very interesting conversation with my older sissy.  She asked “how would you feel if Erin (my ten-year-old niece) were making your clothes to earn a living, and only getting paid $0.50 to make something that retails for $95. 00? Gwyne, you speak high of ethics but were your jeans made with integrity?”
Rather than stitching my own clothing for a living, I decided it was best to educate myself on the labor conditions in other countries.  In an effort not to oust a large brand name company for their unethical practices, I will refer to this company as “Store” throughout this blog.
 Here in the U.S., we outlawed child labor in the early 20th century. In the late 1700's and early 1800's many children began working before the age of 7, tending machines, for about 50 to 70 hours a week, in factories that were later deemed unsafe for children. These children made a wage of 40 cents to $1.10 per night. Eventually the U.S. realized this labor practice was cruel and created law to protect our youth. Finally, in 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act (make this Act a link to the Act itself). The FLS Act made minimum ages of 16 for work during school hours, 14 for certain jobs after school, and 18 for dangerous work. (
However, there are some retail brands that believe, while American children should not work, and get paid slave wedges, children of third world countries aren’t as important. A spokeswoman for a large Store, told The Huffington Post that the company had done “a tremendous amount” of due diligence, and we understand the importance of playing a leadership role in creating opportunity for the women and building a sustainable garment industry.” Yet it was reported the conditions for workers in this particular factor remain dire, according to a report released by a trio of local labor groups. These researchers found that factory workers toiled away “in unsafe, hot, overcrowded facilities.” It was also reported, the workers usually worked 11-hour shifts for six days each week. Additionally, more than half of the laborers interviewed by investigators said they earned between $25 and $37 per month — the lowest wages in the region. Does this sound like due diligence to you? (
The Store reported above is just one of the numerous brand that have an unethical double standard that fills their bank accounts. Think about the women and children in your lives and imagine them in a hazardous factory working for coins. If it is not okay in the U.S., it should not be legal for U.S companies to have slaves on foreign soil.
I am not advising you to make your own clothes; I am merely asking you all, to do your research, and shop with integrity.
Until next time…

Thursday, January 26, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D.: Counterfeiter Costing Us Our Childhood#links

B.A.F.F.L.E.D.: Counterfeiter Costing Us Our Childhood#links

Counterfeiter Costing Us Our Childhood

Hello Lover of Fashion,

It is always a pleasure to be in the company of those who hunger for fashion intel. My hope over the next few months is to bring you newsworthy fashion updates; either legal, unusual, or trendy. Warning, sometimes I might give you homework.

Alright let’s dive right in, like 80 pages of reading on the first day of school! If you are like me, you grew up pleading with your parents, in the middle of a department or designer store as to why you really needed that French Connection piece for school pictures, graduation, or your birthday. Then, once you delivered the world’s most convincing winning argument, you could hardly wait until the day of your event to show off. I am sad to inform you if you did not know-- French Connection pulled all of their stores from the U.S. market a few years back. As I got older, I developed a deep appreciation for quality and purchasing materials, especially since I am no longer on my mother's dime. So, although I am not always able to afford the latest Members Only Varsity Jacket with Faux leather sleeves, I do not want my favorite collection to be impossible to find.
A few weeks ago my curiosity caused me to do some legal research. Have you noticed retailers' and designers across the board are closing, leaving U.S. market or going bankrupt? ...Why? Counterfeiters.
Counterfeiting is at an all time high. According to a recent article published by CNBC, Amazon is a major source of third party counterfeit infringement. Sadly, most times, buyers are not even aware they are buying a counterfeit. By the way, counterfeiting in the fashion industry is a federal crime, governed by intellectual property law. I will be the first to admit, the current IP laws seem prehistoric as applied to most relevant issues raised in court by designers these days. Much like laws that govern cyberspace, the laws are unable to keep up. Hyde Beast, reported “fake fashion” costs the industry $28 billion annually. Also 10% of all fashion-related products sold are fakes, causing the original designer to miss out on profits.
Your homework Loves, is to stay loyal to the real brand. Refuse to buy those nasty cheap knock off that are costing your favorite brands and designers to go bankrupt. Before more brands disappear, like  Bebe and The Limited...if we can't buy work and party clothes at brick and mortar stores, we will have to suffer the awful wrath of conforming-- or even worse, jogging pants.

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Celebrates

New Edition!

It is no secret we are big fans of Michael Jackson around here.  It's also no secret he was in inspiration for may entertainers and groups following him.  New Edition is one of those group.  This Boston-born boy band was coined the "New Edition" of the Jackson 5 and they've never disappointed.

Just yesterday, NE was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  This accolade is long overdue.  Tonight, their long-awaited biopic will begin airing on BET in a 3-part series.  Are you as excited as we are?!  Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Johnny were 100% hands on in the production of this film, so we know it's going to be amazing. 

What are your favorite NE hits??

Enjoy these pics and favorite New Edition jams as you get ready to watch the movie tonight!

Candy Girl

Cool It Now

Mr. Telephone Man

Hit Me Off

Monday, January 23, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Introduces

Gwyne Thomas, our Extern!

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Readers, we are so excited to announce the addition of our law student Extern, Ms. Gwyne Thomas.  Over the next few months, you'll hear a lot from Gwyne, as she'll share her fashion law research results, tips on IP issues in fashion, and insight on all the wonderful things we talk about here.  

Here is a little more about Gwyne,  Look forward to hearing from her soon!

Gwyne Thomas is a Chicago native and a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, where she received a bachelor’s of arts in sociology. During her studies at Eastern she also studied abroad at the Florence University of the Arts, with a concentration in the culture of Italian cuisine, education, and fashion. 

Currently, a 3L at Western Michigan University Cooley law- Grand Rapids, Gwyne has held an office as the vice president of her local chapter of the Black Law Student Association. She is the former Midwest Black Law Student Association Regional Secretary for 2015 and She currently serves as the 2016 Regional Community Service Director. Her interests are women's empowerment, community outreach, and the evolution of intellectual property rights for fashion designers. 

Gwyne will be pursuing a career as a fashion law attorney upon graduation in May 2017. Her specific interests are in the areas of trademark policy, transactional work and copyright. Her passion is to ensure intellectual property rights for designers, and maybe one day work on legislation on their behalf. See, she fits right in here!  

Gwyne lives by the mantra: “If you can see up it, over it, or through it, you should not have it on.”

Welcome Gwyne!

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