6th Annual Symposium


Join us for the Fashion Law Institute’s 6th annual symposium — the highlight of the fashion law calendar and your opportunity to stay on top of the world of fashion law!

DATE: Friday, April 22, 2016
TIME: 8:45am – 4pm (and reception 4-5pm)
PLACE: Fordham Law building, 150 W. 62nd Street
NYS CLE credit (attorneys): 6.0 hours total (5.0 professional practice, transitional & non-transitional, and 1.0 ethics)

Expand your global vision of the law and business of fashion with topics and panels including:

8:45am  WELCOME: Earth to Fashion

9-10am  Border Crossings: Immigration and the Fashion Industry

Whether advocating a wall or a welcome, immigration policy is the subject of intense current debate around the world – and an issue that directly affects the fashion industry. Historically, successive waves of immigrants provided the technology, skills, and labor that made apparel production in the U.S. possible. Today executives, designers, garment workers, and models continue to traverse international borders to work in fashion, often with the assistance of attorneys versed in the complexities and controversies surrounding everything from the coveted American O and scarce H-1B visas to permanent residency status. The next FLOTUS may or may not be a foreign-born former model, but fashion’s efforts to cross boundaries will remain far more than metaphorical.

10:15-11:15am  Underground: Ethics, Bribery, and Corrupt Practices

Fashion is a gift culture. But when does a gift become a bribe, or a permitted “facilitating payment” cross the line into corruption? What is the role of counsel in navigating not only the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and state law but also a host of other nations’ laws and customs? Can competitive international production, marketing, and distribution co-exist with best practices in compliance? How is confidentiality best reconciled with compliance and risk management? And why have so many leading fashion-related companies found themselves asking these very questions – or receiving inquiries from the U.S. SEC and DOJ?

11:30am-12:30pm  Earth Tones: Beauty and the Bar

Beauty is a big business – and everything from founding a brand and protecting its identity to developing new products and advertising their benefits requires strategic and legal decisions. At the same time, the legal landscape is shifting, with increased attention to consumer protection, environmental sustainability, and employee welfare. With transformative scientific advances and new federal regulation on the horizon, what can the experts reveal about the changing complexion of the personal care products industry?

12:30-1:45pm  LUNCH: Garden of Eatin
and KEYNOTE by Laurent Claquin, Head of Kering Americas

1:45-2:45pm  Parallel Worlds: Copyright, Cheerleaders, and Conceptual Separability

“Gimme a C!” is a cheer rarely heard in the hallowed halls of academia, but when the “C” is for copyright – or, alternatively, for a grant of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court – both fans and foes of copyright protection get loud. As legal fashionisti know, U.S. copyright protection for clothing and other “useful articles” is currently limited to conceptually separable elements such as fabric prints, lace patterns, and, as decided in the frequently cited case of Kieselstein-Cord v. Accessories by Pearl, artistic belt buckles that are far closer to jewelry than their merely utilitarian counterparts. But are the circuits in a split over how to determine conceptual separability? And which party will be victorious in this season’s top-seeded case, Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica, a dispute over the designs on cheerleader uniforms?

3-4pm  Worlds Collide: The New Dress Codes

Is your dress code illegal? Or your sense of style insensitive? Even as members of the trans community fight for the right to have their genders legally recognized – and their selected apparel accepted in contexts ranging from school to the workplace – the concept of gender-specific dress is disappearing, at least in many parts of the world. Women have worn trousers in public for generations, and men as cutting-edge as Kanye are donning skirts. Recently, New York City took gender neutrality to the next level and declared gender-specific dress codes to be a form of discrimination.

At the same time that dress codes policing gender are being dismantled, however, the millennial generation is constructing new social norms around the concept of cultural appropriation. From feathered headdresses at festivals to Halloween costumes on campus, conscientious consumers and designers are questioning where to draw the line between inspiration and appropriation in clothing, accessories, and hairstyle. The dress code is dead; long live the dress code?

4-5pm  RECEPTION: Ends of the Earth 

Additional speakers include:

  • Vaughn Acord, V76 by Vaughn
  • Farah Ahmed, IFRA North America
  • Anne Borkovic, Akin Gump
  • Peche Di, Trans Models
  • Keanan Duffty, Fashion Designer & Musician
  • Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group
  • Professor Tanya K. Hernandez, Fordham Law
  • Isabel Hidrobo, Esq.
  • Dennis Kenny, TAL International (ret’d.)
  • Barry Kieselstein-Cord, Designer
  • Tom Kjellberg, Cowan Liebowitz & Latman
  • Rachel Kronman, Frankfurt Kurnit
  • Ali Grace Marquart, Marquart & Small
  • Michelle Marsh, Arent Fox 
  • Kristy Meringolo, Avon
  • Deborah Marrone, Federal Trade Commission
  • Vanessa Adriana Miranda Nadal, Jones Day
  • Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times
  • Professor Susan Scafidi, Fashion Law Institute at Fordham
  • Valerie Steele, Museum at FIT
  • Dana Sussman, NYC Commission on Human Rights
  • Jeff Trexler, Esq.
  • Freddi Weintraub, Fragomen Worldwide

Happy Earth Day!