Underscoring the importance of focused education and training designed to meet the business and legal needs of the fashion industry, Fordham Law School now offers the world’s first degree in fashion law. Susan Scafidi, who taught at SMU Law while I was there, created Fordham’s fashion law program, which is at the forefront of teaching lawyers and fashion professionals how best to meet the business and legal needs of the fashion industry as a whole.
Students entering Fordham’s fashion law program in Fall 2015 can choose between two degree plans approved by the American Bar Association – a Master of Studies in Law (designed for professionals interested in laws and legal issues affecting the fashion industry), and a Masters of Law, or L.L.M., in Fashion Law (designed for lawyers who already hold a law degree but want specific training in legal issues affecting the fashion industry). Iconic fashion designer and CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg is providing seed money for the program, which will certainly become a powerful tool for industry growth, awareness, and protection.
With the rise of e-commerce and fast fashion, the industry faces evolving legal and business concerns about financing, the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, prevention of counterfeits, and brand dilution. Lawyers who understand the industry’s underpinnings as well as the law are essential to identifying and resolving these concerns in a way that supports the fashion industry and fashion professionals. And, those lawyers will be more effective advisors and advocates. Excellence is always in fashion!