The Law Offices of Aaron Resnick, P.A. is the first Florida law firm to have a practice group dedicated to Fashion Law. Fashion law is a specialized area of law that deals with intellectual property (copyright and trademark law, including brand licensing), domestic and international business transactions, textiles, merchandising, employment and labor concerns, and customs (import/export issues). Traditionally, most fashion lawyers work for established fashion and luxury goods companies in major urban commercial centers such as New York City, Paris, London and Milan. Some fashion lawyers work within the company, and others work outside the company for law firms. Fashion Law is a quickly growing legal specialty, and several American law and design schools have dedicated clinics and courses to its study. In a 2008 article, Susan Scafidi, the first U.S. law professor ever to offer a course in Fashion Law and later Director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law, wrote that Fashion Law was only then starting to be recognized as a distinct field. Since then, Deborah McNamara at Parsons The New School for Design, and Guillermo Jimenez at the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York, have also offered courses in Fashion Law. However, such courses remain rare.
The still-emerging nature of the discipline is evident from the fact that the New York City Bar Association, located in America’s fashion capital, did not have a dedicated Fashion Law Committee until June 2011.
Fashion attorneys participate in a variety of legal activities and negotiate deals for their clients. The clients may be large retail chains, haute couture labels, high-fashion models, or an unknown designers just starting out. If and when the situation arises, a fashion attorney will litigate for his or her clients in court.
Fashion houses and accessory designers both face unique challenges specific to their industry. They require attorneys who understand the nature of short seasons and ever-changing product cycles, pressures surrounding counterfeit goods, and the issues of unfair competition. Valuable assets in the fashion business consist of not only intellectual property rights, but also trade arrangements, contracts, and information technology systems. A fashion attorney’s career success may depend on being able to effectively protect these assets by delivering industry-specific legal advice tailored to the clients’ needs.
The Law Offices of Aaron Resnick, P.A.’s group of attorneys are able to assist clients in every facet of Fashion Law. Brittany Rawlings heads the firm’s Fashion law department. Rawlings founded and successfully grew her high fashion accessories company, B.RAWLINGS, while graduating cum laude from law school. Honored as Gen Art’s Fresh Face in Fashion Accessory Designer of 2010, B.RAWLINGS has since been acclaimed by international Vogue publications, Allure Magazine and People Magazine, is carried in Bloomingdales-Santa Monica, and has jeweled celebrities Lindsay Lohan, Tyra Banks, and E! TV’s News host, Giuliana Rancic. Rawlings practice focuses in the field of entertainment, corporate and fashion law. Rawlings was recently awarded Miami’s Power 30 Under 30 and Business Leader Magazine’s Women Extraordinaire in 2011.
The Firm’s fashion law practice offers its clients assistance with:
• Copyright registration and litigation
• Trademark & trade dress registration and litigation
• Formation of business entities and business model
• Registration of domain name, Web Hosting advice and agreements;
• Website creator agreements, E-Commerce and End User website terms
• Copyrighting website design
• Monitoring and litigation of and regarding defamatory or infringing information on social media networks
• Forms for pitching to media, buyers, stylists, celebrities and tracking of fashion samples and progress
• Researching credible, authentic, eco-friendly and/or ethical manufacturers
• Merchant transactions domestically and internationally, negotiations of purchase/sale agreements, and draft of UCC/CISG terms.
• International financial and manufacturing negotiations and agreements, import and export issues, compliance with labor and product laws
• Noncompete, nondisclosure, noncircumvention and confidentiality agreements
• Commercial Agreements and Purchase order agreements
• Consignment agreements, letters of responsibility and insurance
• Wholesale and retail costs and pricing formulas.
• Public Relations Agreements
• Employment contracts, commission agreements, independent contractor agreements
• Commercial real estate lease agreements and real property purchase and sale agreements
• Publication credit agreements
• Retail placement and visual merchandising agreements
• Charity and event sponsorship, endorsement or auction agreements
• Trunk show and trade show agreements
• Ethics of gifting to celebrities, price of wrangling celebrities, promotion through celebrities, and marketing issues
• Joint Venture and/or Consolidation of fashion companies
• Factions, venture capitalists, profit sharing agreements, and financing
• Licensing and distribution agreements
• Anti-counterfeiting and piracy
• Trade practices and ethics
• Alternative approaches to business model & evaluating existing business structure
• Counseling and assistance with capital funding