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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    The CFDA and Tommy Hilfiger continued their bi-annual initiative, Americans in Paris, this month - sending a group of rising American fashion designers to Paris during Paris Fashion Week to show their wares to international buyers. This season's group consisted of: Wes Gordon, Antonio Azzuolo, Dana Lorenz (of FENTON/FALLON), Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs, Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis (of SUNO), John Patrick (of Organic by John Patrick), Sofia Sizzi (of Giulietta), Johnson Hartig (of Libertine), Irene Neuwirth, and Daniel Silberman and Justin Salguero (of Illesteva). We spoke to a few of the designers, who shared highlights from their trip with us ...

    Michelle Ochs: "At the end of the three day exhibit, we had an hour long round table with Tommy Hilfiger, the sponsor. That was amazing."

    Johnson Hartig: "The highlight would be that our sales are stronger than ever in Europe and that we picked up several new stores with this collection."

    Wes Gordon: "I think the highlight was the round table discussion we did with Tommy Hilfiger. He was so candid with his advice and generous with his time- it was a really unforgettable experience."

    Irene Neuwirth: "Spending time in Paris with [fellow designer and CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist] Albertus Swanepoel. Thank you to Tommy Hilfiger, Vogue and the CFDA for another amazing Americans in Paris trip!"

    Erin Beatty: “A stroll through the gardens of the Rodin Museum, toward Saint-Germaine onward to the Dries Van Noten store."

    images courtesy of cfda

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    If we have learned anything in the past 6 months or so, it is: Don't use any Native American-looking clothing or accessories at all; just don't. Apparently, AnOther magazine (a British publication) didn't get the memo regarding Native Americans. The cover of its latest issue features actress Michelle Williams in what appears a bit like a Native American-inspired look. The hair, the feathers, the necklace. Bad idea. So far the responses go a little something like this ... the image is an "attempt to portray reservation nobility, is "shocking" and "racist," and is likened to Blackface ("just as Blackface is never okay, Redface is never okay,") among other choice words.

    You may recall the following dramas: Victoria Secret showing and subsequently pulling Karlie Kloss' Native American-inspired look from its annual runway show following complaints; music group No Doubt releasing and removing their cowboys and indians music video following complaints; the Urban Outfitters/Forever 21 "Navajo" scandal; designer Mark McNairy's collaboration with the Gap that resulted in a Manifest Destiny tee that was pulled following complaints; and the list goes on. Moral of the story: its generally not a good idea to evoke the likeness of the Native Americans if you don't want a flurry of complaints and a potential lawsuit. 

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    Gucci CEO (and new father), Patrizio di Marco, hasn't spoken publicly about his newborn daughter with Frida Giannini, Gucci's creative director, but he did recently address the design house's ongoing battle with counterfeit goods. You may recall that the Italian design house brought fellow fashion company, Guess?, to court several years ago, alleging that Guess? was responsible for a massive trademark misappropriation scheme. This time, Marco is talking about Chanel. In fact, he mentioned Coco Chanel's iconic quote that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Di Marco doesn't exactly see it that way." In reality, Coco Chanel was living in a different time. Counterfeiting is a crime," he said. For a company that prides itself for originality and quality craftsmanship, he says "it is an offense to people who are creating original designs from season to season. To Frida, her design team, those in research, those who work in our stores. It is also an offense to the consumer. " We definitely side with di Marco on this one, but what do you think? Imitation: flattering or stealing?

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    It's about time! Luxury jewelry house, Cartier slapped the designer behind those "Cuntier" accessories with a cease and desist letter. Turns out, the KTHANKSBYE designer is a Fahad Al Hunaif (see him after the break), a Parsons design student and graphic designer. He appears to be going along with Cartier's demands, as the products have since been removed from Soho boutique American Two Shot and from his site. I guess he doesn't want to battle Cartier in court over trademark infringement because guess what - unlike what most fashion blogs are reporting - the "Cuntier" pieces much like the Giraunchy, Homies, Ballinciaga pieces are not necessarily parodies. Now we don't blame the fashion blogs for not knowing that there is legal significance to the term "parody," since they are fashion blogs and not fashion law blogs, but this is yet another example of why they should stick to reporting about fashion week and the trends for spring. Anyway, don't be fooled. Just because bloggers and the creators of such tees and accessories are referring to them as parodies, there's really no saying that they aren't plain old trademark infringements. Learn a little bit about the parody v. trademark infringement distinction here.

    For those out there who are making the argument that Cartier is overreacting, the fact is this: for any entity with a trademark, it is the trademark holder's burden to police its mark to avoid it becoming generic and merely descriptive thus, useless. Further, if you had IP that was worth even remotely as much as Cartier's is, you'd be policing your mark, too.

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    This just in: The 2013 CFDA Awards nominees. The trade organization and leader in American fashion awards US-based designers each year for outstanding talent in womenswear, menswear and accessories. Check out last year's nominees and winners here and this year's nominees after the break. 

    image courtesy of vogue

    Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in Womenswear Nominees: SUNO, Creatures of the Wind, and CUSHNIE ET OCHS!

    Swarovksi Award for Emerging Talent in Menswear Nominees: Tim Coppens, Public School and Tod Snyder

    Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in Accessories Nominees: Irene Neuwirth, Pamela Love, and Jen Meyer

    Womenswear Designer of the Year Nominees: Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Alexander Wang

    Menswear Designer of the Year Nominees: Michael Bastian, Duckie Brown, and Thom Browne

    Accessories Designer of the Year Nominees: Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, and 3.1 Phillip Lim

    The International Award: Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy

    The Founders Award: Oscar de la Renta

    The Media Awards: Tim Blanks

    The Board of Director Award: Colleen Atwood

    The Lifetime Achievement Award: Vera Wang

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    As you likely already know, designer John Galliano (who recently started his comeback in fashion with a stint at Oscar de la Renta) filed a complaint against Christian Dior and his namesake label John Galliano this past August. Galliano is alleging breach of contract and asking for over $18 million in damages, following his drunken tirade and subsequent ouster from the French design houses in 2011. Last month, 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. The latest update: the lawsuit will move to the Court of Appeal in Paris. The movement to the appeals court follows Dior's opposition to the Labor Relations Court's ruling that it is qualified to hear Galliano’s claims, as Dior's counsel is arguing that Galliano served as an independent contractor, not an actual employee. A hearing is scheduled for October 24, 2013.

    image courtesy of theguardian

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    The evolution of the ‘street style’ phenomenon has been a topic of increased conversation around the internet as of late, ranging from the merits of bloggers at fashion shows to how it affects emerging designers, who rely on the free publicity it provides. What we haven’t heard much about yet is the effect this street style scrutiny might have on blogs in terms of the quality of their content. The current crop of celebrity bloggers – i.e. the first wave of internet celebrities who leveraged posting pics of themselves on their blogs and/or being photographed outside fashion shows into real careers (sort of) – turned out tons of Personal Style blogs – which is fine. Some, like The Man Repeller's Leandra Medine (who is not only creative but witty and quite well spoken), have certainly earned their kudos. Others, don't make us name names coughcoughbryanboycough, have provided far less substance behind the style.

    While we have to applaud anyone who is: 1) in the right place at the right time and 2) can turn wearing free clothing into a way to pay rent, the street style movement so-to-speak has given a voice to anyone who can dress more outrageously than the person who came before. The result is not always pretty, and quite often takes the form of ... well, bloggers assuming the role of journalists. Now that the era of the Street Style star is maybe starting to pass, hopefully the next crop of soon-to-be-Big-Name bloggers will have to provide more substance in addition to the style. Because when did being classically smart become so second rate?

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    Last week, we showed you the Spring collaboration between designer Mary Katrantzou and denim brand Current/Elliott. The point of that piece was simply to highlight a really well done collab - since these are so few and far between as of late. However, after a bit of consideration, the collaboration is worthy of a bit more discussion as it is essentially the embodiment of something designers have been fighting for: the opportunity to knock themselves off. You may recall that Lazaro Hernendez (of Proenza Schouler) spoke of this exact practice when he testified against design piracy. Since the majority of garments that designers show in their runway collections do not sell in great quantities, designers want to be able to profit by making affordable wares and they want to be able to do so before Forever 21 and friends do so. 

    Katrantzou's collab is the perfect example. For Spring 2013, she showed a collection of stamp prints and even featured denim on the runway as a result of a collab with Current/Elliott. Thus, her lower price point line is clearly inspired by her namesake collection. Her subsequent partnership with Current/Elliott gives consumers an opportunity to shop looks that are designed by Katrantzou without spending $3000 on a dress. It seems like a win for everyone involved. So, instead of shopping the stamp printed goods that will undeniably hit fast fashion retailers any minute now (and that come riddled with design piracy, potential labor violations and environmentally harmful manufacturing practices), consider shopping the real thing.

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    Here are highlights from a few fashion stories this week. Get up to date on what happening in the fashion and fashion law industry with this brief look ...

    London-based department store Harvey Nichols has is the subject of a nearly $1.5 million lawsuit. The plaintiff: a dog owner who is alleging that she and her pup were manhandled by the London store’s security guards in 2010.

    Parisian perfumer, Frédéric Malle, is launching a "series of fragrance portraits of highly creative, interesting people, from fields such as fashion, photography, the arts and film." First up: designer we love, Dries Van Noten, the fragrance. The fragrance took over 18 months to make, and is available exclusively at Barneys New York.

    Nicolas Ghesquière's muse and longtime stylist at Balenciaga, Marie-Amélie Sauvé, recently talked with NY Magazine. An especially interesting except about why she left Balenciaga, too: "It just didn't make sense to work for Balenciaga anymore without Nicolas. We arrived at together fifteen years ago, and we put in everything we had to rebirth the name, which belonged to a beautiful house. We pushed it into another dimension, while always keeping its integrity. So, when Nicolas decided to leave, I did as well."

    In other news, Ghesquière is reportedly being courted by several investors looking to launch a Ghesquière-helmed label. Offers are supposedly on the table from LVMH, Li & Fung, and Diesel.

    After being fired from his position as the executive vice-president of Gap global design in 2011, following a consistent decrease in sales, Patrick Robinson returning to fashion. His line, entitled Pashko, consists of style-meets-technical performance apparel. He is seeking financing through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.

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    Bulgari is under investigation for evading about $4 billion in taxes. Italian authorities, which are currently conducting the investigation, have seized about $60 million in assets from the LVMH-owned company's chairman and vice chairman Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, former CEO Francesco Trapani, (who now serves as President of LVMH‘s watches and jewelry division) and last but not least, Bulgari's counsel, Maurizio Valentini. The assets at issue: real estate, bank assets, life insurance policies, and corporate investments. Bulgari execs. reportedly established “ficitious companies” in countries with more favorable tax laws than Italy, such as Ireland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, beginning in 2006. More to come ... 

    image courtesy of bulgari

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    In addition to a place to read about fashion law and stalk your crush, Facebook is also a means for serving court documents. New York federal judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled last week that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission may serve legal documents on foreign defendants (PCCare247 Inc.)and its affiliates through Facebook. The suit at issue stems from the defendants' alleged scam that involved defrauding Americans into paying to fix nonexistent computer problems. The FTC got the go-ahead to serve defendants in India with duplicate sets of documents both by email and via Facebook. According to Engelmayer, "the proposed service by Facebook is intended not as the sole method of service, but instead to backstop the service upon each defendant at his, or its, known email address." So, while this isn't exactly fashion law, the implications could certainly affect us in the future, especially since the vast majority of fashion cases in the U.S. begin in the S.D.N.Y. Legal enthusiasts read on ... 

    The S.D.N.Y. judge determined that service via Facebook was authorized by Fed. Rule of Civ. Pro. 4(f)(3), which states that “a Court may fashion means of service on an individual in a foreign country, so long as the ordered means of service: (1) is not prohibited by international agreement; and (2) comports with constitutional notions of due process.” The "international agreement" he's referring to is the Hague Service Convention, which does not expressly authorize service on foreign defendants by email or social media accounts. However, in accordance with the treaty and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, U.S. courts have the power to approve supplemental means of service. This is one of the first rulings of its kind on the U.S., even though courts in Australia and New Zealand have also OK'd service by Facebook. 

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    Last week we asked you to tell us what bag you think Nasty Gal is channeling with its Space Case bag. The overwhelming result: a product of French luxury giant, Louis Vuitton. The fast fashion retailer's bag is pretty clearly based on the LV Alma bag. So, while Nasty Gal's version lacks the Louis Vuitton monogram (because that would be serious trademark counterfeiting and fast fashion retailers think they are smarter than that), the version that Nasty Gal buyers chose is not completely devoid of legal implications. As you demonstrated in last week's poll, it is actually not necessary for Nasty Gal's version to have the trademarked Toile monogram print to still evoke the Louis Vuitton likeness. It looks like Louis Vuitton has done enough marketing and sales, and thus, had enough exposure, to ingrain the shape of its Alma bag in the mind of consumers; so much so that Nasty Gal's logo-free version is still a dead ringer for a Louis Vuitton shape. A possible action on the part of Louis Vuitton? A trade dress lawsuit maybe.  

    Nasty Gal's Space Case bag (left) & Louis Vuitton's Alma bag (right)

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    What a busy week! In case you missed some of the top fashion law stories, we've got your back. We've compiled this week's biggest stories just in case you didn't catch them!

    We talked to some of our favorite emerging designers about their recent involvement in the CFDA Americans in Paris trip. See what Wes Gordon, Michelle Ochs, Antonio Azzuolo, and Irene Neuwirth's (among others) trip highlights are. 

    A California judge granted trademark owner, Lee Tillet a preliminary injunction in the trademark infringement against the Kardashians. Looks like the sisters won't be able to use the name Khroma for their beauty line. Moral of the story: don't steal others' trademarks. 

    Also on notice this week, Fahad Al Hunaif, the graphic designer behind the Cuntier accessories. Cartier hit the Parson's student with a cease and desist this week, demanding that he stop making what it alleges are trademark infringing goods. Looks like "parodies" are starting to come under fire! 

    One of our favorite menswear designers, Marlon Gobel, shares some of his thoughts on Louboutins, the Marlon Gobel man, what every guy needs in his wardrobe and more ... 

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    It is time again for a collection of some of our favorite looks of the week: those designed by emerging talents. Last week, you voted and model Elettra Wiedemann in Wes Gordon Spring 2013 won! Up now: Cushnie et Ochs, L'Wren Scott, Marissa Webb and more. See all of the looks below and vote for your favorite. Be sure to check back next Friday to see who won!

    Karlie Kloss in Cushnie et Ochs Spring 2013

    Olivia Wilde in L'Wren Scott Resort 2013

    Allison Williams in Prabal Gurung Pre-Fall 2013

    Selena Gomez in Cushnie et Ochs Spring 2013

    Anna Kendrick in Marissa Webb Spring 2013

    Best Dressed This Week

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    If you are anything like me, then when you think of wearing "color" that means gray or white. So, with St. Patrick's Day being tomorrow and the general consensus that this is a time to wear green, our Saturday and Sunday Style Features are devoted to that. Here are some of our favorite style stars (Miroslava Duma, Yasmin Sewell, Giorgia Tordini, etc.), garments and accessories. I will probably still wear black, but maybe you can get inspired! Be sure to catch the: Reece Hudson clutch, ARI DEIN chemise, Sigerson Morrison shoes (because mint green is still green), and more ...

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    If you are anything like me, then you need a reminder that today is Saint Patrick's Day, which means you should think about wearing green. So, if you want some inspiration on going out of your comfort zone and wearing color, you're in luck! Here are some of my favorite street style girls (Peony Lim, Giulia Tordini, Lily Scout Kwong, etc.), as well as some chic green garments and accessories. On my list: this Gemma Redux cuff, Prabal Gurung for Casadei boots, this Spring 2013 Wes Gordon dress, Jenni Kayne d'Orsay flats and more. Go green. 

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    ... For Saint Patrick's Day, that is. Here are a few of our top choices in case you want to wear green tomorrow. So, here are some of our favorite street style guys (Nick Wooster, etc.) and some looks and accessories we are really into right now, inlcuding Carlos Campos and Todd Snyder's monochrome green suits, as well as Marlon Gobels green on green look. Don't miss the: Public School x Abel Made bag, the Del Toro loafers, NUMBER:lab shorts and color-block zip up, ISAORA camo jacket, Antonio Azzuolo's colorblock sweater and the Burkman Bros madras check shirt. And if you're in the mood for green for Spring/Summer, check out NUMBER:lab's lime green windbreaker.  

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    One of our favorite new publications, Open Lab's latest issue, entitled Skin, focuses (as always) on emerging talent in the industry. Designers, photographers, stylists, models, etc. Photogs Saty Namvar and Pratha Samyrajah (aka Saty + Pratha) collaborated with stylist TJ Gustave to shoot a "skin" editorial for the NYC-based magazine, featuring several new faces in the male modeling game. Our favorites: Jack Lankford, Joe Collier, and the seriously stunning Zach Zimmerman.

    images courtesy of fashionisto

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    We were admittedly too busy questioning Givenchy's PR team for the Kimye front row spectacle - I mean the Givenchy Fall 2013 runway show - to address the rest of its front row and the implications of such. I won't speak badly about fashion week first-timer Frank Ocean because after reading his post-fashion month interviews, he has an infinitely higher IQ and greater fluency of the English language than fashion's newest poster boy, A$AP Rocky. I will, however, say that nothing says high fashion like Sky Ferreira. Sure she modeled that not-so-stellar Saint Laurent Pre-Fall collection, but she also just did a Forever 21 campaign. And that's what you have sitting in your front row Givenchy? Also in attendance: Nicole Richie? I guess she's relevant because of that Fashion Star tv show. Singer Ciara is reportedly a muse of creative director Riccardo Tisci's. So, that explains her presence. There were a few editors/stylists front row: Anna dello Russo and Carine Roitfeld (even though she was most likely there because she's part of Tisci's gang/family), etc. And of course, Jessica Chastain and Amanda Seyfreid because everyone loves a Hollywood starlet. 

    With such mainstream media stars in attendance, social media sites and the Internet, in general, was buzzing about the Givenchy show. Interestingly, though, there was seemingly far more attention paid to Kim, Kanye, Chastain and the like than the vast majority of looks that went down the runway. So, is bringing in the stars (who, many times are paid and even more times not quite in line with the brand that's showing) really worth the hype? Or does it just turn the front row into a distracting circus that results in shallow media attention? I don't know the answer to that in this specific case because Givenchy seems to be in a delicate place: teetering between a wonderful couture house (because Tisci really has a gift for couture) and a glorified street wear brand. Please, please chime in and share your thoughts!

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    It's that wonderful time again ... when fashion and the fight against design piracy collide. The CFDA and eBay continue to raise awareness against counterfeit goods and celebrate original design. The two industry giants have once again teamed up for the Can't Fake Fashion initiative with nearly 100 of the CFDA's members to support original designs by way of the classic tote bag. Bravo to all parties involved (who customized their own tote) for continuing such a worthwhile cause! Learn more and get your own one of a kind tote, here! And don't miss our continued coverage of the collaboration, beginning right now with thoughts from some of the designers, who are involved this year. See more of the one of a kind bags after the break. 

    Gregory Parkinson - "Supporting original design is something I really believe in. I don't just mean big brands getting knocked off and huge lawsuits. I think the small guys need to be considered, too. I think the UK high street stores like TopShop, etc. are great because they are making fast high fashion that is original and accessible to all. It doesnt have to be copied to be commercial."

    Luis Fernandez of NUMBER:lab - “As a designer, protecting our ability to CREATE and DESIGN is like asking for air to breath. So this campaign is one that is very important to me.” See Parkinson's and Fernandez's custom totes directly below. 

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