Wednesday, April 15, 2015

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

Why You Should Care about Fashion Law
By: Dana Martin

Often perceived as an elitist and superficial industry, the lawyers who come to the defense of fashion get a bad rap. After all, why should anyone care about protecting huge fashion and luxury goods conglomerates like Hermès from online retailers selling fake Birkin bags? The answer is simple: the law of fashion doesn’t only exist to protect the designers, it’s there to protect you, the consumer.

Fashion law is a broad category that covers everything from employment issues to mergers and acquisitions. However, most of the rhetoric surrounding fashion law focuses on protecting a brand’s trademark. So what does that mean, and why is it important to you? According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is “any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” So, a trademark can be anything from a logo like the Nike “swoosh” to the red sole on the heel of a Louboutin, so long as its purpose is to provide a signal to the consumer about what brand is responsible for the product they are buying.

This is important because, as consumers, we base a lot of our decision on which products to buy in which brand created them. The brand of a product carries with it expectations of a certain level of quality according to our past experience. Think back to the last time you were at the grocery store. Did you decide to buy name brand paper towels or the generic brand? You can’t test each package of paper towels in the store, so how would you know one might be superior to another? Maybe you have tried both kinds and have concluded that the name brand is a higher quality product. The next time you need paper towels you are more likely to choose that brand because your past experience has led you to expect a certain level of quality from that product. This is called brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty exists in the fashion industry all the way from runway couture to your everyday attire. Think about your favorite pair of jeans that fit like a glove. When it’s time for a new pair, that’s probably the brand you seek out at the department store. You expect them to fit, feel, and last as long as your old ones. In an industry like fashion where your options are seemingly limitless, when we find a brand that seems to fit our shape, style, and budget, we reward that company with our loyalty. Ideally, if enough people buy the clothes, the brand recognizes the demand and keeps producing outfits that you love. Everyone wins!

Now imagine that when you get to the grocery store, both the name brand and the generic paper towels have almost indistinguishable packaging. If you accidentally choose the generic brand, you may be frustrated with the inferior quality of product that you received. Believing you purchased the name brand, you might decide that their product is no longer living up to your expectations, and decide that the next time you need paper towels you will choose a different brand altogether. In this scenario, the generic brand took advantage of the name brand’s good reputation by tricking the consumer into purchasing it, and in the process destroyed that consumer’s brand loyalty. And now you, as the consumer, wasted your money on a product that you did not intend to buy.

This same concept can be true beyond household cleaning products and especially in the fashion industry. Consumers want to be able to make decisions about a brand based on their experiences with it, but if they are confused about which brand they are purchasing that becomes impossible.  If a company is selling handbags by tricking consumers into thinking they are buying a designer bag rather than by creating their own brand loyalty, the biggest loss falls on the consumer, who chose to spend his or her money expecting a product of a certain quality and received a knockoff instead. Ultimately, protecting the trademark of a brand protects that company from others trying to profit off their good reputation, but it also protects your ability as the consumer to make an informed purchase.

On the surface, fashion law might seem like nothing more than a hobby for attorneys who keep the latest issue of Vogue hidden beneath the Wall Street Journal on their desks. After a closer look, however, it is clear that by protecting trademarks we encourage companies to take responsibility for their products. This means a company must learn to distinguish itself by producing higher quality goods rather than leaning on a competitor’s hard earned reputation.  This means that you, as the consumer, get to reap the benefits of companies trying to win your loyalty by producing better quality products. 

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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

Dana Martin, Contributing Editor--

We are so pleased to introduce our newest Contributing Editor, Ms. Dana Martin.  It is a priority to keep things fresh and relevant around here, and Dana is going to help us do just that.  She's smart and eager to do her part in keeping this fashion law movement strolling along.

Get to know Dana, and get excited about her upcoming posts!

Dana is a recent graduate of Saint Xavier University and a current student at Northwestern University School of Law. In her short time in law school she has learned that the law is a lot more fun when put in the context of an industry you love. She hopes to practice law in Chicago upon graduation and continue to learn from the growing community of passionate fashion lawyers in the city. When she’s not studying, you can find her running, reading, or catching up with friends.

Welcome Dana!

Monday, April 13, 2015

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

Fashion Law Society--3rd Annual Fashion & Design Law Symposium!

John Marshall Law School always puts on a great Fashion Law Symposium.  This year will be no different.  Not only will there be various panels from knowledgeable lawyers, but a fashion show and fabulous social hour.

Don't miss out on this great event.  Chicago fashion law is here to stay!

Register here now!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

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

Loyola Law School's Fashion Law Symposium!

It wouldn't be spring without a fashion law symposium.  Our friends at Loyola Law School in California are hosting a tech-focused symposium this year, with a list a great topics and speakers.  

Be sure to register now, and get ready for a full day of fashion law.  Lawyer, tech professionals, and designers will all benefit from this program.

Here are the details!!

Sketch Goes Tech Symposium

March 27, 2015

Loyola Law School's Fashion Law Project invites you to its spring symposium, where we will explore the fashion law implications of big data, mobile marketing, bespoke advertising and more.
Panels will include:
Digitizing Your Supply Chain: How to protect your brand while moving into the fast lane

Building With Digital Bricks: Using omnichannels to create a holistic customer experience

International Sales, International Problems: Social and legal minefields in the digital age

Is My Smart Phone Spying On Me? Everything you need to know about expanding into wearable tech

General Registration - $95
Non-LLS Student Registration - $25
Loyola Law School Students - complimentary admission
MCLE - $20
5.25 hours California MCLE are available.
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles is a State Bar of California MCLE-approved provider.

For more information and event schedule, click here.

Awesome Program Sponsors


Launched in 2013, Loyola's Fashion Law Project is the first of its kind on the West Coast. It is a comprehensive academic center focused on the unique and all-encompassing legal issues affecting the fashion industry.

Event Details:

March 27, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

Loyola Law School
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

For event information, please contact Alicia Mejia at or 213.736.1070.
Inquiries about sponsorship opportunities should be directed to Carmen Ramirez at or 213.736.1046.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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

Shop Fashion Law!

New York Fashion Week is heating up the city, and the hot styles are not just on the runway.  The trailblazing Fashion Law Institute at Fordham now has...well, fashion law fashions!

You can now don the trademark collection, while supporting a much-needed institution in the heart of the fashion district.  The picks are stylish.  We hope there's more to come.

 The logo pin.  This is the hallmark of the collection. 

Fashion Law for Ladies...the perfect style for class or researching the latest in the industry.  Classy and comfy.

Gents, too!

Check out these items, and order yours now.  Why wouldn't you want to wear fashion law?!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Spotlights

Kirwin Patmon, Chicago Fashion Photog--

While NYC is just getting their Fashion Week underway, we're making note of what's hot in Chicago fashion, too!  Ms. Kirwin Patmon is one of Chicago's rising photographers, and a fashionista by trade.  We were able to chat with her and find out more about what she's done and where she's headed. She is quite the stylist and has a great eye for wonderful photos. We love her sass and style.  You will, too!

1. How did you get started in Fashion? What sparked your interest?

Well, I've always loved a good sale and had a flare for dramatic statement pieces. When I was younger I wore hand me downs like it was a full-time job. As I got older my style started incorporating the old with the new. People would compliment me on my unique style and how I could pull off anything. Now after college, I am focused on maturing my style but keeping that quirkiness in my wardrobe. Something that has helped me with this is my blog KirKirChanel. I write about life after college, staying fabulous on a broke girl's budget, and staying true to one's self and personal style.

2. Do you apply your interest in fashion in any other arts? 

I am a photographer as well as a graphic designer. Photo shoots, choosing props, wandering around for a location, and of course the clothes are all things that make me happy. I love putting together trend reports and inspiration boards. I do a lot of D.I.Y. projects that can be worn such as rubber band jewelry and flower crowns.

3. What do you love about the Chicago fashion industry? 

I love the diversity in Chicago. We literally have every type of fashionista and fashionisto. (Is fashionisto a word?) My favorite style is the street fashion. I love the idea of mixing independent brands with corporate brands and even thrifty clothing. The way people dress themselves here is absolutely amazing. There is so much creativity and imagination when it comes to fashion in Chicago.

4. What do you feel the Chicago Fashion industry needs most? What do you plan to do to help achieve those needs? 

The Chicago fashion industry needs more meet ups, creative collaborations and networking events that are free. As far as internships for just fashion design and fashion business, I would love to see fashion communications and more graphic arts opportunities. Whenever I meet another creative mind the first thing I think of is some type of awesome collaboration we could do and the brainstorming process begins. In an industry like fashion we must help each other and be genuine in order to be successful.

5. What's next for you?

I am in the process of developing better content for my blog and Instagram. I am setting up fashion shoots, shooting friends, and potential new friends. I am attempting to merge fashion, photography, and design.

6. What is your favorite fashion line?

Betsey Johnson all day long! Betsey Johnson is the type of gal that celebrates femininity and isn't afraid to stand out. She proves that getting older doesn't make you boring, trying new things is fun, and to never let the Negative Nancies get in your way. When I wear Betsey Johnson I feel fierce.

7. What inspires your photography? 

A good composition. If my fancy camera isn't in my purse, I am usually found snapping pictures of neat things with my phone camera. Portraits are my favorite but shooting from the hip is a close second. 

8. What do you like to shoot the most? 

Candids, because they are honest and beautiful. 

Thanks Kirwin!  This lady has some exciting stuff coming up.  Be sure to keep up with her on the web!

Twitter and Instagram: @Kirkirchanel - The looks here are AMAZING!!  There's something for everyone and every occasion!

Monday, February 9, 2015

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

DVF Urges Fair Treatment of Models--

Diane von Furstenberg is such a fashion icon.  She's a trailblazer in so many ways.  She brought us the wrap dress, has been a major supporter of anti-piracy legislation for fashion on Capitol Hill, and worked with fashion law leader Susan Scafidi in establishing the Fashion Law Institute. Now, she's commanding fair treatment of models as NYFW gets rolling this Wednesday.

Sure, fair treatment of models is nothing new.  We've talked about labor issues models face and the work Stand Up For Fashion (STUFF) has done.  The push from such a fashion powerhouse just might be, though.  For years, major fashion week participants have been scrutinized for their lack of diversity in runway shows and the self-esteem damaging atmosphere for the models they do choose.  As longtime President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Ms. von Furstenberg is saying loudly--no more!

Along with CFDA CEO Steven Kolb, Diane has penned a letter, encouraging this upcoming fashion week be just as much about debuting new trends and styles as it is debuting new attitudes.  She continues to remind us, beauty and fashion start on the inside.  

Check out the letter for yourself.

We love DVF, don't you?!

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