Fashion Law: Becoming an expert

“Fashion is an ancient industry, but fashion law is a young field and it is growing dramatically,” said Susan Scafidi, Founder and Director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University School of Law.

Many global industries like healthcare, banking and insurance are supported by a corresponding legal system, but until recently fashion law as a specialty did not exist, Scafidi said. Previous generations of lawyers working fashion claimed an accidental association with fashion. Today, lawyers are designing careers around fashion and are seeking to develop expertise in the field.

To create fashion law experts that could serve the needs of a trillion dollar fashion industry, Fordham Law created the first LL.M. program in Fashion Law. The program explores topics such as intellectual property, business, employment, finance, real estate and international trade law to provide a comprehensive understanding of legal doctrines related to the fashion industry.

“Now that we have defined a field of law made to measure for the fashion industry… fashion law is sweeping the globe, and designers and fashion houses are increasingly seeking attorneys who understand their business and its legal nuances,” Scafidi said.

The fashion law program at Fordham is new, but already its graduates are using their expertise to represent fashion clients, move into corporate executive roles and start their own fashion businesses.

“For lawyers who love the art of fashion or are fascinated by its cultural impact at all levels, there is nothing more satisfying than using a law degree to fan the flames of creativity or otherwise support the fashion industry's infrastructure,” Scafidi said.


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