Tuesday, April 23, 2013

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tops

Top 6 Highlights from the Fordham Fashion Law Institute Symposium!

This past Friday, I was delighted to attend the 3rd Annual Fashion Law Symposium at Fordham Fashion Law Institute.  It was entitled Well Dressed, and the attendees, students, and panelists were all donned as such.  If you were able to attend, please share your comments and pictures.  If you were not, here is a recap of the great day:

1.  1st Lady of Fashion Law, Susan Scafidi was a gracious hostess.
This comes as no shock, but must be noted.  Susan Scafidi has been major in putting Fashion Law on the map.  She's not only led lobbying efforts for copyright protection on Capitol Hill, but saw the vision and made it a reality--creating the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham School of Law.  Fashion Law has real legal matters, is worth billions, and happens to be quite fun.  What more could we ask for?!

2.  Counsel for both Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent were in attendance and on the same panel.  No red laquer was thrown :)
Harley Lewin (McCarter & English LLP) counsel for Louboutin, and Jyotin Hamid (Debevoise & Plimpton LLP) counsel for YSL gave great recounts of their sides of The Battle at Red Sole.  The gentlemen kindly exchanged fun ribs at one another, but showed the importance of the landmark case.  Attendees were provided with a great understanding of each designer's side of the suit, while also being reminded of the strong similarities each shares: fights against counterfeits, brand integrity, exclusivity in the market, protection of trademarks.  Surely they have more in common than they do in conflict.  
This panel was a reflection of the great learning tool the red sole case has become.  We should be thankful for this precedent.  

3.  Fashion and Philanthropy were highlighted.
We are all about Fashion and Philanthropy here, and even have a page dedicated to it.  It was refreshing to see a panel discussing how fashion is used as a platform for the many causes needing attention and funding in our society.   From the tragedies in Boston to other unfortunate circumstances like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, fashion has taken charity on its back and worn it well.  Rachelle Stern (Senior Counsel at Macy's), Steven Kolb (CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America), Allen Bromverger of Perlman & Perlman LLP, and Diana Mao of Nomi Network were all amazing at defining the great connection between fashion and philanthropy in their respective capacities.  

4.  3-D printing got some well deserved attention.
The ability to print your own garments at home was a major topic of discussion at the symposium.  Francis Bitoni (Francis Bitonti Studio) and Michael Schmidt  (Michael Schmidt Studios) showed off their uniquely designed dress for the fabulous Dita Von Teese.  This dress was not only custom made, but is one of the 1st of its kind in fashion technology.  Done through coding and the 3-dimensional printing of thousands of pieces, this dress is a sign of where technology is taking us.  Of course patent and copyright protection were points of conversation during this panel. 

5.  The trademark camaraderie of this fashionable niche was alive and vibrant.  
Because this legal niche has met some questioning of its validity, many of us who are passionate about it make it a priority to stick together and help one another.  Fashion Law has generally been noted as helpful, fun, and energetic.  The people here want to help one another and do what we can to see it grow and continue to prosper.  The symposium was a reflection of this sentiment.  

6.  Live fashion was on hand, of course.
After the panels were over, we enjoyed a great fashion show with dresses by CONSTRUVCT X Nervous System and Langoliers.  The ladies looked great!

If you missed the John Marshall Law School Symposium on 4/14, check out this recap by Shelley Whitehead, Esq. of The Legal BombSHELL.  She's also written a list of things you coulda, woulda, shoulda learned at the event.  

For more on Fashion Law, check out our Fashion Law Files.

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