Until recently, I didn’t know there was such as thing as fashion law. But it makes sense — what else would the fashion police enforce?
The fashion world is notorious for copycats. When things go too far and there’s a question of, say, trademark infringement, that’s where intellectual property law comes in. See, for example, this lawsuit, in which the Navajo Nation is suing Urban Outfitters for selling clothing with Native American-inspired prints labeled “Navajo.” Apparently, the man was not satisfied appropriating Native Americans’ land and other resources, he had to appropriate their culture and naming conventions.
Brands are a big deal in the fashion world, and so brand licensing is another big area in which fashion gets involved with the law. Items sold under a brand might be sold not by the company you associate with the brand but by another company that licensed the brand name. This, naturally, leads to disputes, and disputes lead to lawsuits.
If you’ve looked at any of the labels on your clothes any time lately, you know that most apparel is made, well, not here. That makes import and export issues relevant to fashion law. Here’s a dispute over whether some imported jeans were properly labeled “Made in China.”
Those are just a few examples, but you can rest assured that if you’re interested in fashion and in the law, there are plenty of opportunities to find overlap. People even make careers out of it. According to one fashion lawyer, the advantage of hiring lawyers who specialize in fashion is that they’ll be familiar not only with the relevant legal issues but also with how the fashion business operates.
You didn’t think you were getting out of this post without the obligatory Right Said Fred shoutout, did you?