Friday, February 5, 2016

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Burberry Trailblazes "See Now, Buy Now"; Skirts Fakes

With smartphones being more commonplace than almost

any other item in our daily lives, they've had both positive and harmful affects on the fashion industry.  The "Runway to Rack" model has created its own lane in fashion, and unfortunately hurt designers.  This is the business model allowing a photo of a runway design to immediately hit a manufacturing table, and in as little as 2 weeks--a fast fashion rack.  Luxury, and even startup brands have struggled with this quite a bit in the last decade or so.  Technology, talent, and sales all cut both ways.  

​"See Now, Buy Now"
Burberry is changing the tide.  Starting in September, the iconic British luxury brand will start hosting only 2 runway shows a year, and make the looks seen on the runway immediately available for purchase. Versus Versace has endeavored on something similar. This will certainly help in circumventing how the "Runway to Rack" method has cramped high fashion's brand protection.  

​More Changes Coming?
This new approach will continue Burberry's show of leadership in digital marketing, as well as complement the CFDA's review of the traditional fashion calendar.  Social media is clearly showing it is here to stay.  Burberry ​is showing its longevity is, too.

Thanks to for this tip!

Monday, January 25, 2016

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Same Shirt, Different Name--Zara Sued (Again) for Copying--

Zara was just sued by the socially-conscious brand, Reformation for infringing on their model-moniker-bearing sweatshirt design.  Reformation previously sold a plain grey sweatshirt with model Cindy Crawford's name across the chest.  Zara is now selling a similarly styled shirt--but bearing the model Elle Macpherson's name.  

Zara still has the shirt up for sale on their site, though a cease and desist letter has to be in transit as we speak.  There are clearly some trademark and even publicity rights issues on hand here as well.  Who knows if Elle approved of the shirt.  Reformation actually got permission from Cindy Crawford for the sweatshirt bearing her name.  She posed for promos.

This will be interesting...yet familiar territory for Zara.  They've been sued in the past for copying, namely by Christian Louboutin.  Tom Ford has expressed frustration in being copied by Zara--Dior, Celine, and Kenzo have been aggravated as well.  

Here they go again.


Friday, January 1, 2016

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Cultural Appropriation & Fashion Law--

One of the first cases making waves in this new year is Navajo Nation's lawsuit against Urban Outfitters.  It began in 2012 when Navajo Nation sued the retailer for using "Navajo" to describe a variety of items--including underwear and flasks.

Last week, the judge on the case ruled the Nation has standing to protect use of the term "Navajo", keeping it from being used, particularly when the usage is inappropriate, unauthorized, and undesirable.  Clearly these items are not genuine Navajo.  The Indian Arts and Craft Act gives Native American tribes the tools necessary to protect their culture and how it is uses in the marketplace.  Urban Outfitters claims the term "Navajo" is a generic term, simply used to describe.  Members of Navajo Nation obviously disagree.  This case will likely go to trial, as Navajo Nation is seeking damages--now for an undisclosed amount.

This case could provide the landmark decision on cultural appropriation. But, where are the lines?  Many celebrities have been accused of cultural misappropriation lately, and a case like this could absolutely provide a pathway for the handling of cultural mishandlings. In a letter from a Member of the Navajo Nation to Urban Outfitters CEO, the writer expressed complete disgust over their "blatant racism and perverted cultural approbation".   

We've seen Urban Outfitters with such fashion faux pas before--like "Obama Black" Holocaust Shirt".  What are they not getting?!?  In the past, they explained themselves saying it was a careless error in how they edited their website.  Apparently there was also an "Obama Blue" shirt.  Emm.  Ok.  They seem to get this wrong quite a bit... 

To what degree do we own our cultural practices?  What cultural practices mean the most to you?  Why?


Thursday, December 31, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Fab Fashion Law News from 2015--

Inline image 2
It's the time of year--and frankly the last day--do to these listicles discussing the year that was.  While we've retired our weekly Tuesday Tops feature (which still has great stuff to check out), we still like the idea of compiling solid, handy lists.  

Since fashion law is our specialty, and we want you to stay as up-to-date as possible on our favorite field, we're listing the Top Fashion Law Stories of 2015.  Let's hit it backwards, starting with last week...

Fashion Law Is Back on Capitol Hill--Child Labor Laws for Fashion Shows

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Can't wait for more fashion law news in 2016!

Monday, December 21, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Smooth Gentlemen

Gents!  Allen Edmonds Has You Covered--

Guys, we know accessorizing can often be quite the task, but Allen Edmonds is making it easy--and even easier for students!  Whether you're already in the job market, or preparing to get there, AE has all you need to impress every onlooker in your path.

'Tis the season to be snazzy!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

France Takes A Stand Against Unhealthy Modeling--

Just as U.S. Congresswoman Meng (D-NY) is working to address child labor issues in the United States, France is working to improve the culture of fashion modeling in one of the industry's oldest markets.

To ensure the reforms are real, France is requiring doctors' approval for models to participate in shows, proving they are not too thin, and healthy enough to take the catwalk.  This is a major step in an industry that's been fighting labor health and image issues for so long.  The bill passed by the French National Assembly also requires photos which have edited a model's appearance to note what edit was made.  

Similar to the laws already in place in Italy, Spain, and Israel, France's law includes fines for modeling agencies and advertisers in non-compliance.  While there is no law of this kind in America, we hope this is the start of a trend to promote not only healthy bodies in the modeling industry--of all sizes, but positive body images and high self-esteem, too.

Cheers to France on this move. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Fashion Law Back On Capitol Hill--

Now this is fashion law!  Following many attempts (and surely more to come) to get protection for fashion designs, there is a new push for legislation in the fashion industry. U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-New York) has filed the Child Performers Protection Act of 2015.  Never before have we seen child labor standards of this sort at the federal level.

Being a patchwork of regulations across the state for so many years, child labor regulations could now see national standards. Representative Meng's billl, H.R. 3383, amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, updating child labor standards for performers including actors and models. The legislation prohibits employers or contractors from: (1) employing any child performer unless a trust is set up to receive at least 15% of their earnings, (before accepting work) to be held inaccessible until they reach the age of 18; and (2) compensating a child performer in any form besides cash wages, exclusive of board, lodging, or facilities.   Accepting in-kind payment is great sometimes, but it should definitely be a mere bonus.  It'll never pay for college or be a base for financial security and good savings habits.  Anyone working should be compensated--no matter the age.  So many brands make more than enough to properly compensate their coveted talent.

As a legislative lawyer, I am excited to see this issue before the legislature.  It is a long time coming, even with the Council of Fashion Designers of America having offered guidelines on model treatment for sometime now.  Always an industry leader, CFDA has offered a strong health initiative, with self-imposed rules to bar models under 16 from runway shows, educate on eating disorders and empower positive body images, and offer fitness education as well. Designer and Boss role model Diane von Furstenberg has made her own pushes for fair and appropriate treatment of models, most recently during fashion week.  Surely this foundation will be helpful in passing H.R. 3383.  While few bills pass any legislature as they arrive, this bill takes a great step forward in parity and standardization in the fashion industry.  Protecting models and easing the labor challenges and disparities is a much-needed step forward.  

The bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.  We'll be watching.

For more on labor issues in the fashion industry, check out these posts:
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