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As part of our service at Harris Tate, we produce a range of legal articles that are published in various media, designed to alert our clients to legal developments that may affect them.

Our legal articles are written by lawyers and legal executives and discuss legal aspects relating to industries, businesses and individuals as well as focusing on everyday legal topics of interest.  These articles provide information to help educate our clients on different topics and current events in the law.  They may raise additional questions.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or to discuss your individual situation in more detail.

Looking the part in the eye of the law

21 October 2016

Fashion. It’s a creative industry that entwines trends, designs and iconic personalities with the complexities of intellectual property, privacy and law.

On a daily basis designers, with the help of lawyers, are protecting their designs and inspiration, through fashion law – a legal field encompassing issues that arise throughout the life of an article of clothing or fashion accessory.

Essentially, this covers intellectual property; business and finance, with subcategories ranging from employment to real estate; international trade and government regulation, including questions of safety and sustainability; consumer culture; privacy and wearable tech; and civil rights.

It also includes related areas such as textile production, modeling, media, and the cosmetics and perfume industries.

Lawyers in this arena work on anything from intellectual property – trademarks, brands, designs and copyright – to contracts, employment law and distribution agreements. Some shops and labels have their own in-house teams, while others outsource to legal firms.

A good lawyer truly understands the client’s needs and keeps abreast of changes in the sector.

Fashion law doesn’t differ from any other area of commercial law in that respect. If you know what issues and challenges the industry is facing, you will be able to respond a lot better to client needs.

However, you need both legal knowledge and an interest in the industry to make the most cost effective decisions on behalf of clients.

It also helps if you understand retail and how the fashion industry works – but an obsession with clothes is optional.

My expertise is in contracts and commercial matters, so I have my head buried in contracts and leases most of the time. I probably wouldn’t notice whether my colleagues were wearing Louboutins or Crocs.

- Harris Tate Associate Michelle Carabine. Published in The Weekend Sun (October 21).