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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    Quite frequently the terms that identify different types of fake designer goods are used synonymously and thus, inaccurately. So, here's a breakdown of some of them ... 

    Knockoffs - This refers to an item that looks very similar to the original design but likely doesn’t misappropriate the original designer’s name, logo, print, etc. For instance, a Rare London dress with  a Rare London label that is nearly identical to a Michael Kors dress. This is perfectly legal in the US.



    Trademark infringing goods - This occurs when a trademark that is confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party is used in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the trademark registration covers.

    Counterfeits - A counterfeit is a garment or accessory produced by a company that is knowingly and deliberately using another's logo, print, name, etc. without the authorization to do so. This is almost always paired with the company's intent to deceive the consumer by presenting itself as another brand via a fake logo, fake tags, etc. Trademark counterfeiting amounts to trademark infringement, but not all infringements are counterfeits as counterfeits are narrower in scope. A counterfeit refers to a trademark made to look identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the actual mark, and is one intended to cause consumer confusion about the source of the counterfeit goods or services by using this mark on the same classes of goods that the authentic trademark owner's registration extends to.


    Pirated goods - Piracy is the term commonly applied to the unauthorized copying, distribution, or use of copyrighted materials. Because only limited copyright protection applies to fashion, this refers to the recreation of protected Pictorial, Sculptural or Graphic works, such as prints. (More about PSG works here). 

    Design piracy - This, as distinct from piracy, in general, refers to the protection of garments and accessories as a whole, as proposed by the Design Piracy Prohibition Act and subsequent fashion law bills. 

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    There has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding singer Beyonce's performance of the national anthem at the Inauguration last week, but what's been on our minds: her wardrobe. She looked lovely and we love Peter Dundas and Pucci, but at such an American event, the singer should have gone all-American with her dress choice. With so many insanely talented emerging design brands based in the U.S. (Prabal Gurung, Cushnie et Ochs, Jason Wu, Rodarte, Alexander Wang, Zac Posen, etc. etc. etc.), Beyonce really has no excuse not to support them on such a momentous occasion. Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

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    Fast fashion website, Nasty Gal, has been a topic of conversation on The Fashion Law this week thanks to its endless attempts to pass off others' original designs as its own. In case you aren't convinced, we have yet another blatant copy for you. Nasty Gal's design piracy of the day: Contrarian's best selling Barbara Bibb dress. If you look past the styling of Nasty Gal's Crossed Chiffon Dress with what looks like an orthodox Jewish hat, you'll see that with the exception of the placement of the straps, these two dresses are identical. Hey Sophia - use some of the $40 million you just received from Index Ventures to employ some designers, instead of consistently copying others. 

    Katie Holmes in Contrarian (left) & Nasty Gal's version (right)

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    Before we head to our favorite menswear shows in NYC next week, here is a look back at some of our favorites from Paris and Milan A/W 2013. 

    This season was particularly noteworthy for Rick Owens, as he incorporated a color into his collections. Granted, it was light brown and mostly only seen on shoes, it’s important to give designers credit for trying new things.  Also – someone in the front row was spotted wearing the Camper x Bernard Wilhelm moonboots, discrediting all the naysayers who claimed they wouldn’t be spotted in the wild.


    Olivier Rousteng continues to slowly merge his own style with the Balmain aesthetic quite perfectly laid out before him by former-creative director (and all-around rock god designer) Christophe Decarnin. That means fewer moto-pants and more cummerbunds used as belts. Also, inexplicably, Henrik Vibskov's signature pants made the cut (see below).



    For A/W 2013 Kris Van Asche continued his streak of being underrated as fuck. This season we saw him mix streetwear influences into his usual collection of sharply tailored suits (now they bear a striking resemblance to hoodies!) and avant-garde creations (shirts are now hoodies also!).



    The Thom Browne-designed Gamma Bleu line by Moncler was definitely the Most Scottish collection of the season. Instead of exploring a sport as he usually does (past winners have included swimming and cycling), Browne settled on a Braveheart theme. This meant that in addition to his usual cadre of expertly tailored puffy blazers, we were treated to swords (The staff of TFL has them on back order already – to protect against the Nasty Gal hordes) and fanny packs.


    Berluti showed a bunch of grown man clothing.



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    In case there aren't enough celebrity clothing lines, troubled actress Lindsay Lohan started her own collection a few years ago called 6126 (a reference to Marilyn Monroe's birthday), which consists almost primarily of leggings. Well, Lohan and her 6126 business partner, Kristi Kaylor, filed a $1.1 million lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court today against D.N.A.M. APPAREL INDUSTRIES, the company responsible for manufacturing her 6126 line.

    The claims: 1) Breach of Contract, 2) Fraud and 3) Trademark Infringement. Turns out the company failed to pay her what she is owed from sales at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and the Kardashians' store D­A­S­H - of course! According to the suit, Lohan entered into an exclusive worldwide trademark license agreement for an initial term of 2 years with D.N.A.M. in 2009. Lohan alleges that D.N.A.M. failed to pay her over $500,000 in royalties and other sums due to her. Claim 2: D.N.A.M. knowingly made false representations of significant facts, with the intent to deceive and induce Lohan to enter into the agreement. Lastly, Lohan is suing for infringement of the 6126 trademark, which she claims ownership of. There are two federal registrations for the mark, both of which are for class 25 (covering clothing) owned by 2126, LLC. 

    image courtesy of terry richardson

    This isn't the first legal drama surrounding the actress' 6126 line. In 2010, photographer Scott Nathan filed suit in a Los Angeles federal court claiming that he was hired to do a photoshoot with Lohan for the collection, was promised a 1% interest in the clothing label in return for his work, and was never paid. Nathan also sued Universal Music Group, after claiming one of the pictures he took for the fashion line was used for Lohan's single, Bossy, without his authorization. More to come ...

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    With a confirmation that disgraced designer, John Galliano, is making a comeback under the watch of Oscar de la Renta, here's a look back at his final collection for Dior. With Galliano's theatrical and over-the-top style differing somewhat from the classic de la Renta aesthetic, it is difficult to predict just what Galliano for de la Renta will look like, but here's to second chances! A quick reminder: Galliano was fired from Christian Dior and his namesake label, where he served as creative director, after he went on a drunken tirade complete with anti-Semitic remarks caught on tape in March 2011.



















    images courtesy of jezebel

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    The Fashion Law Exclusive - It is beginning to look like design patents are the way to go for designers since the U.S. has yet to pass any sort of protection against design piracy. The latest to rely on patent protection: Stella McCartney. The London-based company applied for the U.S. patent in November 2011, and was granted a patent this week for part of the design of her best selling Lucia mesh and polka dot dress, which is from her Fall 2012 collection. We have seen quite a few design patents as of late, namely for parts of handbags and shoes, but this is the first (in awhile) for a garment. 

    McCartney's dress (left) & her USPTO drawing (right)

    So, what does the patent protection extend to exactly in this case? Oklahoma University College of Law professor and our favorite IP law expert, Sarah Burstein, told us: "The dotted portion of the dress (including the dots themselves) are claimed; the rest is not. So, if someone else made a dress with the same dotted portions, Stella McCartney could claim infringement—no matter what the rest of the dress looked like. It could be patterned, cut-out, have some crazy kick-pleat, etc. But to be clearly infringing, the dotted portions would have to have be in the same shape and have the same pattern. If someone used huge polka dots, stripes, etc. in that same configuration, he would have a good non-infringement argument. So, this patent is actually pretty narrow."

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    Big name models Lindsey Wixson, Alana Zimmer, and Cora Emmanuel hit the runway in Paris just about a week ago for Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring 2013 couture collection. Also on hand: Gaultier favorite, Andrej Pejic. Surprisingly, Pejic only walked once and did not open or close the show. However, we will be seeing much more of Pejic soon. Gaultier has tapped Pejic to be the face of his Kokorico fragrance campaign, which we are anxiously awaiting! 

    image courtesy of vogue

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    In an effort to raise awareness about design piracy this week, we have been featuring some examples of Nasty Gal's direct copies of emerging designer pieces. We initially gave Nasty Gal the benefit of the doubt, knowing that retailers do not always intentionally seek out copies, but after continually finding a multitude of copies on Nasty Gal's site, we decided that coincidence is not the case here. We asked Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso, to remove the blatant copies that Nasty Gal passes off as its own. The company's business model of copying is especially problematic as it consistently and deliberately targets the designs of young, and essentially vulnerable, design brands that are still establishing themselves in the industry. Unlike Chanel, which acted extremely ethically when we requested that the French design house remove a copy from its collection last year, Amoruso's response to our requests: "You're a bully. Go away." Since Amoruso refuses to respect the creations of others, please consider shopping the real thing or shop on a site that is not completely ignorant to the unethical and harmful nature of design piracy. [If you need a reminder on how design piracy affects young brands, read Lazaro Hernandez's (of Proenza Schouler) testimony here]. See the Nasty Gal highlights from this week below ...



    Proenza Schouler is a young brand whose founders consistently fight against design piracy making this Nasty Gal's most ironic knock-off. 

    It's no secret Cushnie et Ochs is a TFL favorite and we were dismayed to see this rising new brand's styles copied by Nasty Gal - AGAIN. Although there is very little difference between the two company's designs, you can be assured there is a massive difference in quality.   

    Karen Walker is THE go-to designer for fabulous sunnies; a fact not lost on Nasty Gal. The site has  decided to use Karen Walker's popularity to their advantage, by selling exact copies of the designer's most famous designs.  

    You'd think a company with a recent investment of $40 million could hire some designers with a unique vision.  We are sure that is what the designers of Contrarian are thinking when an EXACT copy of their Bib dress was featured on Nasty Gal's site.  

    Remember, You Can't Fake Fashion.  Be real, buy real.  


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    Givenchy's creative director Riccardo Tisci has signed on for at least 3 more years at the Paris-based design house. High-end street wear lovers (aka rappers) rejoice! Not surprisingly, some of the industry's big fashion blogs are calling this a smart move, citing the buzz that Tisci has created around the label and its printed tees and sweatshirts. A short-sighted analysis in our opinion. How do we reconcile the brand's focus on street wear at the expense of couture (the house didn't show a couture collection this past month)? It is quite telling that even Tisci himself seems to be trying to distance himself from the street wear craze that he created. In fact, he told style.com last month that he showed a "more couture" menswear collection for Fall 2013. It will be interesting to see what the next 3 years will bring ... 

    Riccardo Tisci (left), Kanye West and Usher

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    You voted this past week in our emerging designer poll, and Deepika Padukone in Prabal Gurung won! Cast your vote for your favorite look of the week from some of the most talent emerging and Made in the U.S. designers, and be sure to check back next Friday to see who wins! Up this week are some of our favorites: Cushnie et Ochs, Prabal Gurung, Wes Gordon and more. See all of this week's emerging design looks below and VOTE ... 

    Alicia Keys in Cushnie et Ochs x Playboy bra top

    January Jones in Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2013

    Kerry Washington in a Wes Gordon Fall 2012 sweater & A.L.C. leather skirt

    Jane Krakowski in KaufmanFranco Spring 2013

    Lucy Liu in Mary Katrantzou Spring 2011

    Best Dressed This Week


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    It's been a busy week here at TFL!   Read some of the top stories here and be sure to read our review of Nasty Gal

    The Knockoff vs. Counterfeit Distinction:  Fashion law lesson of the week: What do these terms mean and when should they be used?   We tell you here! 

    Stella McCartney Granted Design Patent: The Fashion Law Exclusive!  Stella McCartney has acquired coveted protection of her oh-so slimming polka dot dress.  Design pirates be warned, this is one dress you can't steal! 

    Bangladesh Garment Factory Fire Kills Six:  Another garment factory fire and another fast fashion label that manufactures there.  How many more deaths need to occur for major companies to impose safety standards for their workers? 

    H&M Partners with WWF, Still Using Unethical Suppliers:  H&M is launching another "green" initiative move, but are they really dedicated to the environment or are they trying to avoid broader issues? 

    Givenchy's "More Couture" RTW:  Although Riccardo Tisci won't be presenting a couture collection in the Fall, it seems he is not ready to turn into a street-wear designer just yet.  


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  • 02/01/13--17:30: Spotted: PG Pre-Fall 2012
  • We spotted some Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2012 in Conde Nast's Fashion Hackathon video brought to you by the CFDA and Decoded Fashion. Refinery 29 editor, Annie Greenberg, spoke about the first ever fashion hackathon event that takes place on February 2nd in NYC - in one of our favorite Prabal prints! See the video here ... http://www.decodedfashion.com/the-worlds-first-fashion-hackathon-conde-nast/.


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    It's been awhile since we have featured reality TV star and socialite, Olivia Palermo. Love her or hate her from her days as the resident villain on The City, Palermo's style is utterly chic. She manages to do classic Fall/Winter style pretty well. Olivia's timeless wardrobe essentials: ballet flats, leather leggings, blazers, knit sweaters, statement jewelry, and a Birkin bag doesn't hurt. So, get inspired!


















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  • 02/02/13--08:31: Lady Gaga: The Lawsuit
  • The contents of a deposition involving singer Lady Gaga from this past August were exposed this week. Turns out, Gaga's ex-assistant, Jennifer O'Neill, brought suit in December 2011 claiming that the singer failed to pay her more than $380,000 in overtime pay. That's 7,168 hours. O'Neill was paid a salary of $75,000 for her time with the singer, and according to her complaint, she didn't get breaks to eat or sleep and was routinely called to deal with "spontaneous, random matters in the middle of the night." So, what does diva Lady Gaga have to say about it, aside from calling O'Neill a "f*cking hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn't earn." Here are some lovely excerpts her deposition, which was videotaped and under oath...

    Note: Gaga has since tweeted, "Everyone's headlines need an updating. 'former assistant' is actually 'my best friend from NY since I was 19.' Painful stuff."


    “You don’t get a schedule that is like you punch in and you can play f--king Tetris at your desk for four hours and then you punch out at the end of the day. This is — when I need you, you’re available ... an eight-hour workday could still be a very difficult workday, you know, if you’re digging ditches."

    “She’s just — she thinks she’s just like the queen of the universe. And, you know what, she didn’t want to be a slave to one, because in my work and what I do, I’m the queen of the universe every day.”

    Gaga then claimed that her assistant hadn't appreciated the perks of her job, stating: "She slept in Egyptian cotton sheets every night, in five-star hotels, on private planes, eating caviar, partying with Terry Richardson all night, wearing my clothes, asking YSL to send her free shoes without my permission, using my YSL discount without my permission ... It is, like, such an amazing luxury that I get to travel the world and have planes, she doesn’t even see what a luxury it is."

    “One of the biggest problems I had with Jen is that I felt like she didn’t enough lay out all my stuff for me while traveling ... It was very stressful for me because then on my off days I couldn’t really have a day off because, you know, I weigh 115 pounds, and I was trying to move these huge, big luggages all by myself in the room, and I did it all the time — by the way, she was asleep until 12:00 most of the time, so I was very often waking up and moving my own luggage and doing sh*t by myself."

    “I’m quite wonderful to everybody that works for me and I am completely aghast to what a disgusting human being that [O'Neill has] become."

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    My favorite model of all-time, Cindy Crawford, covers the latest issue of Harper's Bazaar Brazil, and she looks seriously amazing. Shot by Nagi Sakai and styled by Juan Cebrian, the 46-year old original super model and mother of two is the epitome of healthy beauty. Take note, models. And speaking of healthy beauty, have you read about the CFDA's Health Initiative and its NYFW partnership with Organic Avenue









    images courtesy of tfs

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    We seriously cannot get enough of our Sunday Style feature, Susan Cernek, because she actually dresses like a normal human being! With street style taking a turn for the outlandish, unwearable and circus-inspired, it is refreshing to see someone, who can draw attention for just being herself! Cernek is the Fashion Development Director at Glamour, and so, with access to some of the most amazing pieces, we love her even more for not constantly over doing it as some fashion editors are known to do! 










    images courtesy of mr. street peeper, tfs & citizen couture

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    Former model and actress, Xiao Dong Mei, has been sentenced by an Italian judge to serve prison time along with her accountant husband, Federico Di Lauro, for money laundering. [FYI - money laundering is the act of concealing the source of money obtained by illegal means]. The Court of Rome's sentence follows a fairly lengthy investigation by the Italian police, which started in August 2011 with the couple's arrest in Ponza, Italy. Dong Mei's husband is also on the hook for a few other charges, namely his involvement in a Ponzi scheme with two other individuals. The model's rise to fame apparently stems from her work with Italian designer Laura Biagiotti in the 1990's. 


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    Tonight is the night for 34-year old, NYC-based designer, Rubin Singer. Prior to starting his namesake label in 2007, Singer worked for Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. His work took center stage on Beyonce during the Super Bowl halftime show. Singer has been a favorite of Beyonce (and her stylist) for some time now, and is a somewhat surprising choice for the star's wardrobe tonight with industry insiders predicting she would choose a big name like, Givenchy (which Madonna wore last year). Beyonce wore one of Singer's gowns two years ago for a Fourth of July performance at the Statue of Liberty, and wore a custom Rubin Singer bodysuit this past New Year’s Eve for a performance in Las Vegas. As for the Super Bowl performance, Singer says: “Everyone’s expecting Beyoncé to go with a major designer. She knows it’s a game-changer — no pun intended. My business could have legs from this.” A press release from the designer says it took a team of 14 people and five fittings to create Beyonce's leather costume. See more below ...



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    We have always said that Prabal Gurung makes a pretty good model! Here he is in a sweatshirt from his Target collection, which is set to hit stores in just a few days. See the entire collection here and tell us, will you be shopping? Prabal has been hard at work on his Fall 2013 collection with stylist extraordinaire Tiina Laakkonen, who was responsible for the young designer's insanely gorgeous Spring 2013 ad campaign. The runway show, which is one of the most anticipated of NYFW, takes place next Saturday and is sure to be breathtaking! 

    image courtesy of t.laankonen twitter

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