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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    In case you missed the Calvin Klein Super Bowl commercial here it is. Twenty-year old, American model Matthew Terry, is arguably one of the most talked about men of the day. He made his modeling debut for Spring 2012 - for Calvin Klein, of course, and has worked for Klein almost exclusively since then. He did, however, walk in the Spring 2012 Versace and DKNY shows. The model took to his Twitter last night: "Wow! Thank you Calvin Klein and Ford Models it's a night I'm never going to forget!!! <3 and thank you everyone for all you support and love!" Watch out, Adam Senn. It looks like Matt Terry is the next big thing!   

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    Actress Eva Longoria stepped out in Las Vegas for the grand opening of She by Morton's restaurant and club in Cushnie et Ochs. The star looks pretty great in CeO's Triple Triangle frock from their Spring 2013 collection. We've said it before but you really can't go wrong in Cushnie et Ochs. Not only are their designs seriously sexy, but all garments are made in NYC! 

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    WWD is tweeting. The industry go-to publication said this morning: “John Galliano attends a Paris court hearing into his suit against former employer Christian Dior Couture.” Sounds like the disgraced designer, who is set to make a comeback with Oscar de la Renta, is following through with his suit against Dior. The designer reportedly filed a complaint with Dior this past August for breach of contract, asking for over $18 million in damages, following his drunken tirade and subsequent ouster from the French design house in 2011. 

    And Galliano claimed a victory today. The French Labor Relations Court held that it will hear Galliano’s claims against Dior stemming from his dismissal in March 2011 after 15 years as creative director. Jean Néret of Jeantet Associés, the lawyer for Christian Dior and John Galliano (the company), argued for dismissal of the case, claiming that the case should be heard by a commercial court. Galliano's lawyer argued today that it is inaccurate to portray Galliano as a mere subcontractor, since he was tied to Christian Dior Couture and John Galliano (the later of which he owns 91%) by exclusivity clauses. While the damages that Galliano is seeking are currently undefined, they are estimated to be $7.77 million. More to come ...

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    For our very last Nasty Gal post, we couldn't help but share this truly atrocious (and probably illegal) example of design piracy with you. Emerging design label, Pamela Love is a go-to for Nasty Gal design ideas, and so, we aren't exactly surprised to see an exact replica of her Tribal cuff on the copycat site not too long ago (thankfully its no longer available). While the similarity is striking, don't be fooled. All of Pamela Love's pieces are made in NYC of the highest quality materials, and we promise you that Nasty Gal cannot say the same! Why is this example of otherwise commonplace Nasty Gal behavior particular notable? Well, unlike the vast majority of garment designs, the copying of jewelry designs quite often amounts to copyright infringement. There is really nothing less chic that wearing an infringing design! 

    We hope you will consider all of the examples of design piracy that we have showed you in this series when you are shopping. Design piracy is a very real and very harmful epidemic in the U.S., especially because it is legal in most cases. Please do your part and shop original designs whenever you can. We can assure you that up-and-coming designers and all respectable members of the fashion industry appreciate it! 

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    One of our favorite unconventional models, Daniel Bamdad, signed with Ford Models in New York last week. Based in Paris, Bamdad, who is the face of Vivienne Westwood, arrived in New York at the end of January and we are hoping he will be all over the runways for New York Fashion Week! More to come ... 

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    We've said it before, but we'll say it again: Celebrities, leave the designing to the designers. The latest example: Jessica Simpson (or her licensing company) has set her sights on NYC-based designer, Justin Giunta's Subversive Jewelry for "inspiration." The singer, who's fashion empire is worth a reported $1 billion, debuted her "distinctively designed" Chain Wrapped Beaded Necklace - a pretty blatant replica of Giunta's Jet Hermitage necklace. Part of his Spring 2009 collection, the Hermitage necklace is made in NYC and with its combination of vintage chain, jet crystals and lava and lucite charm, it is quite clearly a work of art. In light of New York Fashion Week, which begins this week, it is important to note that this one instance of design piracy is part of a very large problem that significantly threatens the existence of young design brands. If the U.S. hopes to maintain its status as a fashion capital (alongside Paris, London and Milan), we need to start rejecting such blatant acts of design piracy in favor of original designs. This doesn't necessarily mean spending hundreds of dollars on garments and accessories, it just means being a bit more selective in what we buy and wear.  

    Subversive Jewelry's Hermitage necklace (left) & Jessica Simpson's version (right)

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    Disgraced designer, John Galliano, was in court yesterday for the first hearing regarding the breach of contract claim he filed against Dior and his namesake label John Galliano. In yesterday's hearing, which centered on whether the French Labor Court is the suitable forum for the contract dispute, the following info regarding his contracts with both companies ...

     At Christian Dior Couture, where he was creative director for 15 years:
    • Fixed gross annual salary of 1 million euros, or $1.3 million at current exchange.
    • Variable compensation of up to 700,000 euros, or $906,400, plus a percentage tied to the annual sales rise.
    • Annual clothing budget of 30,000 euros, or $38,850.
    • Grooming budget of 60,000 euros, or $77,700.

    At John Galliano, the eponymous label that he founded in 1984 (and owns 91% of):
    • Fixed gross salary of 2 million euros, or $2.6 million.
    • Percentage tied to the decrease in annual losses (the house was consistently in the red).
    • An annual clothing budget of 70,000 euros, or $90,650.

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    One of our newest additions to The Fashion Law features some of our favorite designers, editors, models and other industry insiders, sharing their thoughts on anything and everything fashion and non-fashion. Today's feature: Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci. One of the most influential designers of the moment, Tisci just extended his contract with the Pari-based design house for three more years and co-chairing the Met Gala this year. Here are his thoughts on America, the Givenchy man, couture, and more ...

    On his start at Givenchy: "When I arrived at Givenchy, there were certainly people who supported me, but not everyone loved me. They were saying, 'Why an Italian who acts Gothic?'" But for me, darkness is something very beautiful."

    On fashion: "I love art and music more than I love fashion, to be honest." 

    On the Givenchy man: "What I built at Givenchy is this new gentleman ... A boy that's confident in his own sexuality. A boy that is not scared to play with his own wardrobe. It doesn't matter if he's aristocratic or comes from the street—he's got an elegance inside himself." 

    On his couture collections: "In couture, I really show my romantic side, because in spite of the fact that everyone thinks I am very much a Rottweiler—that I am very dark and everything—I have a side that is very romantic that I show to very few people." 

    On America: "I am super-Italian, not even European—Italian ... I am very much for what is American, but I also prefer the America of the ghetto. I love the Bronx. I love hip-hop and R&B. I love electro-Latino, Latin music, that whole realm."

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    Awhile ago we told you that things are not always as they appear at Fashion Week, and we weren't just referring to the outlandish "street style." It's hardly a coincidence that some of Hollywood's biggest names are spotted in the front row at various Fashion Week shows. Turns out, they're getting paid. The New York Post is confirming that stars rake in more than $100,000 in “talent” fees, airfare and free clothing in exchange for their front row appearances. In fact, it's quite a business. Much like models, the highest-paid stars (think: Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc.) are frequently required to sign contracts establishing their exclusivity with a certain brand. So, Jennifer Lopez appearing only at Chanel and Valentino in Paris is likely the result of a carefully negotiated contract. Kate Bosworth, on the other hand, who attended the shows of Cushnie et Ochs, Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, and Proenza Schouler, etc., was obviously less limited by an exclusivity deal. Keep your eye out for celebs, and we'll discuss. 

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    Get ready to fall in love with Prabal Gurung (in case you aren't already)! Here is the super cute commercial for his Target collection, which debuts on Sunday. Starring actress Olivia Thirby, we are completely sold! See the entire collection here and tell us what pieces you love. 

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    Let J Brand's full blown world domination begin. We knew the denim company-turned-RTW brand was onto something when the Houlihan cargo pants frenzy happened a couple of years ago. Now about a year after the company announced its plan to expand into ready-to-wear (and about six months after rumors started that the company was going public), the Los Angeles-based company is set to show at New York Fashion Week. More to come following the brand's presentation that takes place tomorrow ... 

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    Komakino Fall 2011 (left) & Alexander Wang Fall 2012 (right)

    I'm treading lightly here because Alexander Wang is America's gift to the world of fashion right now, but let's be real for a minute. We thought those mesh face masks from Alexander Wang's Fall 2012 collection that everyone was talking about looked familiar. Turns out, Wang may have been inspired by London-based emerging design label, Komakino, which is causing quite a bit of buzz for its streetwear aesthetic, deconstructed tailoring, and military influences. Komakino showed similar mesh masks for Fall 2011. With its wares available at Opening Ceremony in the U.S. (which carries Alexander Wang's designs), as well as in stores in Milan, London, Tokyo, etc., the chances that this design duo wasn't on Wang's radar, somewhat slim. Tell us ... imitation or inspiration?

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    Trends are not exactly something we love to discuss here at The Fashion Law, but sometimes, a discussion is warranted. Case in point: the red and black striped sweater. It appeared in Givenchy’s Fall 2012 collection and quickly became a fixture on the street style scene. A year or so later, Burberry and Saint Laurent showed similar versions, minus the Givenchy stars. So, is this a case of copyright infringement or design piracy? Neither. In terms of copyright, while the sweaters can certainly exist without the striped patterns (thus, implying potential applicability of Pictorial, Sculptural or Graphic Work protection), the level of creativity is arguably not met, and even if it were, I’m not so sure that this is anymore than an unprotectable idea. The idea of a red and black striped sweater.

    from left: Givenchy, Saint Laurent & Burberry

    Now, in speaking of design piracy protection, this implies that one of the “fashion laws bills,” likely the most recent version, the Innovative Design Protection Act is in place (which it is not). However, if it was, even it would not provide Givenchy with the exclusive right to manufacture the sweater. This is because the bill focuses primarily on protecting the original cut and construction of garments and accessories, not the print or pattern. So, what do we have here? We very likely have an unprotectable idea, which has given way to a trend. Get it?

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    Oscar de la Renta is synonymous with luxury. The brand (along with Zac Posen) is arguably the closest thing America has to true couture among the likes of Dior, Elie Saab, etc. So, we were a bit surprised to hear that Oscar is doing another collaboration. He launched his diffusion line, O Oscar, in 2004 (and relaunched in 2006), and more recently, you may recall that he teamed up with Neiman Marcus and Target for that not-so-stellar holiday collaboration. Now, Oscar has partnered with The Outnet for a lower priced line. The collection will include dresses, skirts, tops, and shorts, and will be priced between $325 and $1,295. With just about every brand known to man doing collaborations and diffusion lines, the stigma of lower priced lines is largely a thing of the past. However, where do we draw the line between a lower priced line being helpful (to a brand) and being just plain pedestrian?

    images courtesy of wwd

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    New year, new IPO's. The two main prospects: Lapo Elkann's eye wear brand, Italia Independent, and Kellwood-owned lux basics company, Vince. In a recent interview, Elkann, the Fiat heir, who is known for his street style (he was named on Vanity Fair's Best Dressed Hall of Fame of 2009), said he is hoping to develop the brand globally and is considering either a public offering or selling a stake to a “foreign group or individual." He is reportedly in talks regarding the Alternative Market of Capital, a segment of the Milan Stock Exchange, which would allow the brand to either list in Milan or in London, or to sell a part of the holding to a foreign investor. 

    Elkann with girlfriend Bianca Brandolini d'Adda 

    Vince, which made headlines late last year following the resignation of its co-founders Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice, and subsequent appointment of Doo-Ri Chung, a designer favored by first lady Michelle Obama. The Vince brand is owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, who's CEO Jill Granoff said Chung will help “accelerate the growth of Vince and unleash its potential as a global lifestyle brand.” The company is working with banks including Goldman Sachs Group and UBS AG, but has not yet determined the precise timing of the IPO or how much money it is looking to raise, sources say.

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    While Playboy isn't exactly on our radar here at The Fashion Law, we must admit that following the its collaboration with NYC-based design duo, Cushnie et Ochs, for that ultra-sexy, limited edition bra, we are keeping up with the company's happenings. Turns out, Playboy has its fair share of legal woes as of late. Hugh Hefner's enterprise brought suit against Play Beverages, LLC, the licensor of its Playboy energy drinks, wines and vodkas in California in 2010, alleging that the company infringed its famous bunny trademark after their licensing agreement expired. The claims: trademark infringement, false advertising and violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act by continuing to use the mark and operating certain domain names after its license expired last year. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled against Playboy, holding that Playboy’s lawsuit was inappropriate under the forum selection clause of the License Agreement between Play Beverages and Playboy. Two days later, Playboy filed a similar suit in an Illinois court. More to come ...

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    For today's Throwback Thursday post, we look back to Lazaro Hernandez's (half of the Proenza Schouler design duo, above right) July 15, 2011 testimony before the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet on behalf of the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act. Regardless of where you stand on the protection of fashion designs from design piracy, Hernandez's testimony presents some interesting and relevant points about the fashion industry and the plight of emerging designers. Here are some excerpts ... 

    The members [of the CFDA] are prominent household names and primarily up and coming talent. The vast majority – over 85% - are small businesses. These small businesses are creating jobs across the country as fashion has grown to a $340 billion industry in the U.S.

    Just one of our collections – and we produce 4 collections a year – costs $3.8 million. The cost of a typical show is approximately $320,000. So, before a designer has even received that first order, they’ve spent a significant sum of money.

    As designers we expected many of the challenges we face; the challenges of securing funding, convincing retailers to carry our collections, meeting deadlines, delivering our clothes in time to stores, finding studio space, attracting talented employees. We can handle all of those. However, we are helpless against copyists who prey on our ideas.

    We were fortunate to win awards and gain notoriety early but there are countless, undiscovered small designers across America working in their studios waiting to have someone buy their clothes or accessories. Established or undiscovered - we all have been touched by fashion design piracy. We luckily survived despite its disastrous effects, but many colleagues whose names you will never hear, had to close down.

    One of our most popular designs has unfortunately become a typical example of the problem we highlight. Our PS1 satchel is one of the most knocked off designs on the market today. We have attempted to assert our rights and fight this piracy – but without success - because unfortunately it is currently legal under U.S. law.

    While established designers and large corporations with widely recognized trademarks can better afford to absorb the losses caused by copying, very few small businesses can compete with those who steal their intellectual capital.

    Designers are only able to recoup their investments when they later offer their own affordable ready-to-wear lines based on those high end collections. They then can lower the prices at which their designs are sold because they sell more of them. Just like other businesses - it's dependent on volume. Design piracy makes it difficult for a designer to move from higher priced fashion to developing affordable renditions for a wider audience. It also makes it impossible to sell collections to stores when the clothes have already been knocked off. Licensing deals are then no longer an option. In other words, fashion designers want the chance to knock off their own designs before others do it for them.

    There is no reason that real innovation, rather than knockoffs, shouldn’t be available for everybody. Consumers can have more choices precisely because of innovation. The average consumer can wear new designs, created by true designers rather than poor copies of the real thing made by pirates in China.

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  • 02/07/13--12:00: NYFW Day 1 Highlights
  • We kicked off New York Fashion Week bright and early with Nicholas K's Fall 2013 show. The brother-sister duo proved again that layering is everything and that when done right, it makes for a seriously chic look. The shin-length harem pants (for men and women), the leather detailed leggings, the flowing blouses, and the classic hoods were highlights.  When shown alone, the dresses ranged from nice to quite desirable. In conjunction with other pieces however, this is the one area that their layering could use a bit of refinement. The gray, green hues, the styling and the wrapped-ankle winterized espadrilles of sorts were pretty spot on. We left the show wanting to layer!

    Todd Snyder presented his take on the rebellious gentleman for Fall. The result: pony hair peacoats, fur collars, clean suits and bow ties meet hints of leather. The looks felt finished, yet easy and wearable. Fall 2013 is a reminder of why Snyder is one of the most talked about names in menswear.

    Edun, the brand founded by Ali Hewson and Bono, showed a a range of youthful, punk rock offerings today. Designed Sharon Wauchob, the collection consisted of black leather biker jackets and vests, plaids, super-skinny trousers, plunging necklines, studs and delicate chain details. Sounds very Hedi Slimane, we know. Edun Fall 2013 is wearable and androgynously sexy, and the casting reflected that pretty perfectly.

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    We already told you that the industry's most famous androgynous model, Andrej Pejic, hit the runway for Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring 2013 couture show in Paris last week. Well, he also suited up for Gaultier's Fall 2013 menswear show in Paris. However, unlike many sites (including the UK's Daily Mail) are reporting, he did not walk for Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto's menswear show. Turns out, 21-year old Pejic is being confused with Swedish male model, Erik Andersson, who made his debut for Spring 2012. Maybe Andersson will be the next model to make it into the gender-bending spotlight. 

    Pejic in Gaultier (left) & Andersson in the Yamamato show (right)

    Andersson in the Yamamato show (left) & in Julian Keen Homme S/S 12 ad (right)

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    Here's a lawsuit that is seriously begging to happen! Designers, Mary Huang and Jenna Fizel have teamed up and started Constrvct, a clothing label of sorts. The company centers on software that enables consumers to log onto the Constrvct site, upload a photo (which is subsequently translated into a print), choose from a variety of basic silhouettes, and input their measurements. The most immediate result: a dress, shirt, etc. with your chosen print that arrives at your door three weeks later. The other likely result: copyright and trademark lawsuits. 

    While the founders say pre-existing images will be available for selection, with royalties going to the artists who created them, users have the option of uploading any images they want, which very may well include a photo of a Louis Vuitton print. This would be unauthorized use of the Louis Vuitton trademark and very likely trademark infringement. Another potential image may be of a Mara Hoffman print. This would amount to the unauthorized reproduction of Hoffman's print and thus, copyright infringement. Given the existence of logo-mania in the market place, as well as the ever-increasing number of counterfeit luxury goods, many of which bear famous trademarks, it is not a far cry to assume that individuals will attempt to create their own "Louis Vuitton" garments.

    the Constrvct process

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