What is fashion law?

Fashion law embraces the legal substance of style, including all of the issues that may arise throughout the life of a garment, starting with the designer’s original idea and continuing all the way to the consumer’s closet. The diverse categories of law that affect the business of fashion include intellectual property, business and finance, international trade and government regulation, and consumer culture and civil rights. From the historical relationship between clothing and culture to current issues involving the globalization of fashion, the newly defined field of fashion law is made to measure for the modern apparel industry.

What does the Fashion Law Institute do?

As the world’s first center dedicated to the fashion law, the Fashion Law offers education, training, and assistance to current and aspiring attorneys and design professionals. The Institute has developed both semester-long courses and other educational programming available to attorneys, fashion industry professionals, students from other law schools and design schools, and the general public. In addition, the Institute provides designers with a centralized resource for legal questions and assistance on issues facing the fashion industry.

Can I apply for admission directly to the Fashion Law Institute?

The Fashion Law Institute’s Summer Intensive Program, established in 2011 and fondly known as Fashion Law Bootcamp, has a direct application process.  It is open to both non-degree and degree students, including attorneys, students, and design professionals.

Other coursework is offered to J.D. and LL.M. degree students through Fordham Law School, and there is no separate application process apart from regular law school admission. For more information, please visit the Fordham Law School Admissions page.

What courses does the Fashion Law Institute offer?

In addition to the original signature Fashion Law survey course addressing the legal issues that arise throughout the life of a garment, from the designer’s idea to the consumer’s closet, the Fashion Law Institute offers advanced classes and seminars for degree students. These courses include Fashion Law & Finance; Fashion Ethics, Sustainability & Development; Fashion Modeling Law; Fashion Retail Law; and the Fashion Law Practicum.

Can I audit or enroll in a fashion law course at the Fashion Law Institute if I am not a current Fordham Law student? 

Fashion Law Bootcamp is open to both non-degree and degree students, including attorneys, students, and design professionals.  This program offers the same material and in-depth coverage as Professor Scafidi’s original signature fashion law course, as well as various extracurricular opportunities.

Advanced courses developed by Fashion Law Institute are part of the Fordham Law curriculum and are available to both J.D. and LL.M. students.  Enrolled visiting students are also eligible to take these courses but should be aware that demand for seats typically exceeds the available supply.

The Institute also offers public seminars intended for design and legal professionals, students, and other individuals interested in the field.

Is it possible to major or specialize in fashion law at Fordham?

Currently, as with other specialized areas of the law, there is no official major, degree, or concentration in fashion law. Students who have a particular interest in fashion law are encouraged to enroll in as many fashion law courses as their schedules permit and also to take complementary courses in other fields. To be a well-trained fashion lawyer, you first have to be a well-trained lawyer!

How can current Fordham students get involved in the Fashion Law Institute?

Students at Fordham Law have the opportunity to enroll in the fashion law courses developed by the Fashion Law Institute; join the Couture Counselor Student Society, a fashion law student organization; and participate in public seminars open to the design and legal communities. Students who have completed their first year of law school may also volunteer to be paired with experienced attorneys to assist in providing pro bono legal services to the fashion community.

How can legal professionals get involved in the Fashion Law Institute?

An essential objective of the Institute is to provide pro bono legal assistance to emerging designers and other design professionals who may not be able to afford the legal counsel that is so vital to developing a business. Attorneys with experience in fashion law who wish to volunteer to be paired with students and work together to provide pro bono legal services to the fashion community contact the Institute for more information.

In addition, the Fashion Law Institute offers public seminars, an annual symposium, and other events offering CLE credits.

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