The Fashion Law Institute is the world’s first center dedicated to law and the business of fashion.

The Fashion Law Institute presents its 2nd annual symposium, FASHION = ART + COMMERCE, a daylong event on Friday, April 20, at Fordham Law School featuring discussions by experts in the fashion, legal, financial, and governmental arenas about cutting-edge topics in fashion law – and a Q&A and fashion show with internationally renowned designer Yeohlee Teng. The even runs from 9:15 am – 6:00 pm April 20 at Fordham Law School, 140 W. 62nd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam).

A nonprofit organization created with the generous support and advice of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its president, Diane von Furstenberg and located at Fordham Law School, the Institute offers training for the fashion lawyers and designers of the future, provides legal services for design students and professionals, and makes available information and assistance on issues facing the fashion industry.

 “Whether your focus is money or models, during the symposium we will explore the question: Can you balance the fashion equation?” said Fordham Law Professor and Academic Director of the Fashion Law Institute Susan Scafidi. For example, explained Scafidi, “The IPO panel includes a lawyer who worked on the wildly successful Michael Kors IPO, which has turned heads across the industry. But does going public make sense for other fashion houses? The ADmonishments panel will illustrate recent controversial ads and actions – Britain has banned ads by L’Oreal, Marc Jacobs, and Axe; model Filippa Hamilton claimed she was fired for being too fat and that she’d been hyper-photoshopped in Ralph Lauren ads; Israel just adopted not only a minimum BMI law for models but also a requirement that altered images carry what is essentially a warning label. Can legal counsel, marketing departments, and public policy advocates like the Model Alliance and Off Our Chests find common ground?”

New York City Council Member Margaret Chin, whose district includes Canal Street, Te Smith of MarkMonitor, and representatives from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition and the International Trademark Association will each present proposals related to fighting fake fashion during the second panel, Beyond Whac-a-Mole: New Initiatives in Intellectual Property Enforcement. The MarkMonitor presentation will include new case studies and data from the world of ecommerce and interactive marketing.

During the concluding reception, Yeohlee Teng, an internationally renowned designer with a particular commitment to New York City’s Garment District, will discuss her career and her inspirations, and then send a selection of her current work down the runway. “In 2010 she opened the only designer retail boutique in the Garment District – not the most glamorous of neighborhoods — to draw attention there, and is very committed to having her work made in New York. She’s the epitome of art+commerce,” said Scafidi.


· 9:30-10:45am IPO, Yes or No?
Recent high-profile IPOs in the fashion industry raise questions of if, when, why, how and where a fashion company should list itself on a public exchange. IPOs can raise money for a fashion house to expand, allow founders and early investors to cash out, and give a label greater clout – but IPOs also open the company’s financial statements to the public and subject management to the volatility of markets and the wishes of shareholders. How does a creatively driven business determine whether it’s a go for an IPO?

· 11:00am-12:30pm Beyond Whac-a-Mole: New Initiatives in IP Enforcement
Brand protection experts frequently describe the challenges of their work in terms of the arcade game Whac-a-Mole – counterfeiters pop up, intellectual property owners smack them down, counterfeiters pop up again. But fashionable trademark holders and their advocates have a few new ideas to share, including new case studies and data from the world of ecommerce and interactive marketing.

· 2:15-3:30pm BRIColage: Emerging Patterns in Fashion and International Trade
The BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – are the fastest-growing and largest emerging markets in the world. Each country already plays a significant role in the fashion industry, whether in design, manufacturing, consumption, or all three. They are also, however, facing intellectual property challenges, increasing labor costs, and opposition to trade agreements amongst their citizens. How will the BRIC countries change the face of the global fashion industry?

· 3:45-5:00pm ADmonishments: Where Fashion Law and Advertising Meet
In advertising, fashion’s creative directors often pursue the avant-garde, while fashion lawyers must remain on guard. From British bans on controversial ads to Israeli and proposed French regulation of modified images to the invention of digital modification detection software, fashion advertising is coming under greater scrutiny. In the U.S., the proposed Media and Public Health Act (formerly the Self Esteem Act) continues this trend, raising questions about who should control artistic images created in the service of commerce.

5:00-6:00pm CONVERSATION & FASHION SHOW with Designer Yeohlee Teng.

Fordham Contact:
Media contact: Robin Wagge, Rubenstein Associates, 212 843 8006,  



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

  1. Wow this is something new. I'm still reeling from a bit of disbelief with this very intricately inventive concept, but it does makes sense though. For a billion-dollar industry that caters to the world's top 2%, there is a real market in that arena.

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