Monday, April 24, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Cares

My Favorite Outfit - Fashion with a Purpose!

We are always excited about fashion as a means for changing the world, beyond trendy looks and bottom lines.  Just last week, we learned about a Chicago organization doing just that--using fashion to make a difference in the lives of young girls.  

My Favorite Outfit (MFO) uses fashion to empower at-risk girls through self-esteem building, mentoring, and skills-based learning to help them succeed in middle school, high school, college and beyond. While blazing their trail in Chicago, MFO will soon be expanding to Los Angeles!

Stepping on the stage in 2014, MFO has used in-school workshops in Chicago's underserved communities to educate girls on how clothing and self-esteem intersect. Now, MFO is expanding upon our 27-school partnership in Chicago and bringing our pop-up workshops to Los Angeles for the 2017/2018 school year. 

California has the highest percentage of low-income students in the country and the achievement gap rate for these students is startling. In order to help close this gap, there needs to be a change.  MFO is more than fit to help positively change the statistic--one girl at a time.

The Advisory Board created a crowd funding page to help raise money for the west coast expansion. Just $35 provides one student with the opportunity to participate in a pop-up workshop. A donation of $1,000 will sponsor an entire school for a semester. These funds will pay for course materials, clothing for the students to shop from, and the chance to give a young girl personalized learning and the attention to make her feel loved, cared for, and worth it. 

This organization is using a fun passion to change lives.  Changing the lives of the young women they touch will help these young women do the same for those coming up behind them. The empowering (and fashionable) cycle will continue.  

Check our this video to help you learn a little more about the organization. 

Don't forget to donate!

Thanks to our Fashion Friend Christian McKenzie for putting this organization on our radar.  We're excited to get connected!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Womens' History Month

The Business woman taking charge

This morning, I attended a panel discussion with women entrepreneurs, titled Woman-ing Up. There were four speakers: a cosmetic chemist, a blogger, a family counsel, and a personal mentor of mine who is an intellectual property attorney. In honor this being Women’s History Month, I would like to say “congratulations” to all who stepped out there, swallowed their fears, and made their dreams happen. To the artist, fashion designer, associate, blue collar or nine to five worker who is scared to move forward and is clinging to the career you hate, that guaranteed the bills are paid, now is the time to gather your blueprint. I hope this blog inspires you, as the panel did me.

Q: When the women were asked, ‘What kind of challenges do women entrepreneurs face’, they answered- “We underprice ourselves and place boundaries on our gender. As a woman, you must have that confidence like a man and KNOW what you bring to the table. We need to overcome the labels that make us afraid to lead; we must be a "hard ass" to grow.  Also, remember self-care is very important. Please understand, you must make sure you are important to yourself and take time to take care of you. Lastly, find a balance and do not develop bad habits that will haunt you later-on down the line.”

Specifically, they mentioned two challenges of being a woman of color:, i) Money.  People do not want to fund women of color. “We must be twice as good to get twice as far”. Finding the dollars to get people to invest in your dream isn't easy. ii) We feel like we must do everything on our own, but as a woman look inside your circle for your strengths. There are several individual whom you already know are experts in area that you will need help or advice. When building your dream, have the courage to reach out.

Q: What were some of your fears when starting out?
The fear of leaving the guaranteed check. You must know that your preparation will meet your transition one day. Take that leap of faith and know that you must i) work hard and ii) get out there to get paid and the contracts you need. Get over the fear of making the necessary investments. You have to spend money on getting better at your career and invest in the business. You also need to make it clear what is an expense versus what is an investment. Additionally, project changes going forward and map out what you will can “predict” about the future. Here, predict is in quotes, because sometimes no matter how well you plan, you will get a wrench thrown in your plans. No one has a perfect plan.

Q: What are three tools that will be helpful in merging an entrepreneur’s  journey?                 1. There is no point in trying to figure everything out on your own you know or have experts that you can go to. It is all about building a solid team. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Therefore, do not focus on making the money but focus on the value; you are then able to help people better understand the price point of the service you are providing.

                2. For those who are new -just do it. Do not allow some else who did not have fear, put the very same idea out before you. The last thing you want to do in 2018 is look around and see someone is making money off the very concept you thought of two year ago, but never moved forward with. 

                3. It is lonely at the top. Get around a support system that understands you, people that want to see you grow create positive energy. Your team does not have to be doing the same thing as you, so long as they understand that some Fridays you might have to say no to hanging out. They will understand that you are building your brand. Furthermore, realize if you truly want to grow your business, you will have to sit out on some of the girls’ nights. There is nothing wrong with taking some nights to invest in growth.
Q: Transition or “big chop”-
For those who do not understand this reference, this is referring to the period a woman goes through when transiting from using straightening chemicals on her hair to allow her hair to grow in its natural texture. Some women choose to allow chemicals to grow out slowly, while other do the “big Chop”, and cut the chemical out their hair. Everyone is different.

If you wake up tomorrow morning and you were doing what you wanted to do what does that look like. Do you need to take time to flush out your ideas? However you decide to get started be very strategic about how you do it. Take comfort knowing that wherever it is that you are right now you will not always be there. Sow the seeds that need to be planted for your future and watch then bud. Apple trees do not produce apple overnight. Think about your business long-term and see what those steps are. Therefore, i) plan well; ii) set the deadline; iii) be ready to trust you.

I hope this has inspired someone reading to “Woman Up”. Special shout out to the mommies; you rock Superwoman! Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Take advantage of those around you. Sync your calendar with your husband’s, siblings’ or in-laws’, for a guaranteed sitter to give you quiet time to work. 

Remember ladies, you will to get through the pitfalls.  If on your journey you get discouraged and hit a rut, fall in love with your business again. Pencil in the things in your calendar that keep you motivated. 

I’ll leave you with this thought, a big part of woman-ing up is patting yourself on the back and knowing when you did a good job.

Until next time...

Resources business resources

Patrice N. Perkins- business formations, Intellectual property law

Rebecca Daily Wooley- social media consultant

Chantelle L. Bittings- life enrichment counseling services
10540 s. Western, Suite 504
Chicago, IL 60643

Elle Davis - Co-founder
Mid South Business Association & Resource Center

Thursday, March 23, 2017

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

SCOTUS Changes Fashion Law Forever--

Until now, no case hailing from the niche of fashion law had stepped onto the U.S. Supreme Court stage.  A decision this week has changed that.

The Star Athletica v. Varsity Brand case has become a trailblazer for copyright in the fashion industry. Just yesterday, the SCOTUS found decorative items--specifically those common on cheerleading uniforms--to be protectable under copyright law.  This ruling is contrary to years of cases in lower courts, where opinions have continuously determined decorative elements of clothing were inseparable from the garments themselves.   

In the only apparel-related case to ever come across the docket, the Supreme Court made a determination which could change the fashion industry forever.   Law360 noted, "The question before the justices was how courts should decide when such “separability” exists, an issue that has split lower courts. Fashion companies pushed for a looser approach that would allow them to protect more apparel with copyrights; consumer advocates called for a tighter approach, meaning less protection and more competition."

The fashion companies won. 

With this ruling, designers now have a gateway to protecting the artistic elements of their designs, and drawing a long-awaited distinction between their unique work, and a useful item (clothing).  Surely this case will set the stage for more litigation, as designers will have firm ground to stand on when exercising their vigilance in protecting their work. It may also set the stage for shocking the conscious of the counterfeit market. 

This has been quite the fight for those of us knee-deep in the fashion law industry.  What will fashion law conquer next?

Monday, March 20, 2017

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

What's Happening With Handbags?!

Over the last 2 years, the handbag market has seen its share of struggles.  Brands like Coach and Michael Kors have opened new store after new store, more outlet shops, and even lowered some of their prices.  This sounds good.  Having the numbers to grow your brick and mortar presence is always a good thing.  Or is it?

Alone, growing in brick and mortar is good, but the handbag market suffered a bit last year, growing just around 2%.  Sure, that's hard to see as a struggle in a $9.3billion industry, but best believe, the brands are feeling it.  Some of the reason for the shift is discounting and brand saturation.  Other contributors are the trends toward specialty bags--whether it be a collaboration between Kerry Washington and Aquatalia, or a cause-focused bag focused on an important social issue.  Consumers are increasingly enjoying putting their money behind a cause, and getting style as an added bonus.  

It's hard to think handbags would go out of style.  It really is quite unlikely.  But, like everything else, there are industry ups and downs.  With the rise in e-commerce, retail is experiencing a shift away from traditional shopping.  Marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy are providing challenging circumstances for shopping mall staples like Macy's, Wet Seal, and The Limited.  Now they've had some real struggles!  

Surely in readjusting their prices, and being conscious about bag placement, luxury designers will rebound from this slump they've seen recently.  The question is, how will e-commerce and the "app age" play into their future success?  Marketing gurus certainly have a challenge on their hands.  Retail execs, too.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

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

The Nude Shoe Collection by Nubian Skin!

Not too long ago, Christian Louboutin made a statement in the fashion industry, launching a full line of nude shoes.  The nudes weren't just for the fair-skined fashionista, but ranged into the caramel, mocha, and chocolate tones for those swanky ladies with magical melanin.

Now, another fave of ours, Nubian Skin has joined the ranks of those offering a plethora of nudes, covering the entire spectrum of stylish shades.  After launching as a lingerie line centered around the magnificence of melanin, Nubian Skin has added shoes to their repertoire.  We couldn't be more excited!

The Nubian Skin nude shoe collection offers both heels and flats, to suit all needs to the Melanin Maven.  Take a look and order yours!

The collection includes a classic heel and an everyday flat available in four signature colors – Berry, Cinnamon, Caramel and CafĂ© au Lait, as well as one new color, now the lightest in the collection – Champagne!

The entire collection is available to purchase on! All shoes are made with a butter-soft leather upper, and will be available in sizes EUR 36 to 42.
Size Guide

Monday, March 6, 2017

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

Saved By The Trinkets

Hello loves,

Are any of you an aspiring luxury handbag designer? Recently, I had to do some extensive research on, how a designer goes about acquiring protection for their original designs. As many of you may already know, you are not able to gain protection for any feature of your design that is “functional”. Function, meaning that in order to make the object what it is, certain aspects are needed. An example of a functional aspect is the standard buttons on a coat. However, if a designer goes as far as to 1) create a sculptured button that is an original idea, 2) that can stand alone as a piece of art if separated from the coat; those decorative/ornamental, buttons can be gain copyright protection.

How does this apply to handbags? Before law school I often wondered how despicable individuals, were able to take a handbag and create look alike knockoffs. Well, know that I am completely judging anyone who would take someone else’s idea and try to pass it off as their own. Even in the fashion industry this is still considered stealing!

First, if you are a designer of handbags, you are able to copyright and or trademark all parts of your handbag that is NOT functional, but conveys information. Therefore, all elaborate designs that are your original creation such as graphics, embroidery, unique designs in fabric and very unique jacquard weaving, can be federally protected.  Brand logos are protectable, too, 

Second, high end handbags have trinkets on them that are removable. If you take a closer look, these trinkets usually resemble the designer’s federally protected trademark in a three dimensional form. Some bags also have a silk lining that reflect the designer’s trademark.
As a designer, you have a right for your customer to not be confused as to the source and quality of their merchandise. Therefore, although someone can disrespectfully create a look alike of your work, they are not able to use an exact replica of your original designs without your permission. If you successfully obtain federal protection of your marks, and or graphics design, you are on your way to gaining notoriety in the fashion industry. Notoriety is your trade dress, which is the image are you recognized by and the way it is displayed in the market.

Third, get to work. Go forth and be creative. Put your designs out for the public to purchase.

Until next time…


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!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

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

Beverly Hills Fashion Law Symposium 1/12!

Fashion Forward: Wearable Technology, Design Patents, Privacy, and the latest Fashion Law Cases--

It's time again for some fab fashion law symposiums!  Well, it's actually always time, but the next one is fast approaching.  The fashionable folks at the Beverly Hills Bar Association are hosting a wonderful panel discussion this coming Thursday!  Some fashion law faves will be presenting, so we know it's sure to be a good time.  

Check out the details below and register NOW!!

IP, Internet & New Media Sections
Fashion Forward: Wearable Tech, Design Patents, Privacy, and the latest Fashion Law Cases! 
Learn the latest in fashion law innovations: Wearable technology and where it is headed, how to use design patents as protection, privacy issues in the fashion industry (who is monitoring you!), what you need to know about FTC issues regarding sponsored products in fashion blogs, plus the Varsity case which is on deck to be heard by the Supreme Court in 2017!


Victoria Burke, Esq. Director of Business Development, Raw Science TV

Craig Gelfound, Esq. Partner, Head of Arent Fox's Intellectual Property Group (LA office) and Adjunct Professor at Southwestern Law School

Danielle Garno, Esq. Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLP-  Fashion Law Practice

Hillary Kane, Esq. Professor of Fashion Law at Southwestern Law School, of Counsel at altView Law Group, and Founder of Raising Kane Consulting
When: Thursday, January 12, 2017, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (Program at 12:30pm) 
Where: Lawry's the Prime Rib (DirectionsFree Underground Parking)
$0 - Members of The Order of Distinguished Attorneys 
 - BHBA Members who pay in advance*
$245 - Non-BHBA Members who pay in advance*   
Interested in Membership? Try it Free, No Commitment, for 30 days 
Azita Mirzaian, Esq. & Michael Lovitz, Esq - Section Co-Chairs 
Martin Keleti, Esq. - Vice Chair   |   Victoria Burke, Esq. - Program Chair
* Advanced registration closes 24 hours prior to event time. Registrations received thereafter include a $25 additional fee. Full refund with 48 hours notice. Raincheck with 24 hours notice. 

This activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 1.5 Hours of Participatory Creditand the Beverly Hills Bar Association certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education.
Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.
Beverly Hills Bar Association, 9420 Wilshire Boulevard, Second Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-3169
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