Fashion and Design. The challenges facing the industry. A new legal arena?
The fashion and design industry is among the sectors able to evolve more naturally and one that is indeed forging ahead with little hesitation, hand in hand with the latest breakthroughs in new technologies and in tandem with the globalization of the markets. Several aspects specific to this industry have made this possible: products aimed at retail consumption; the key role played by trends in the way it develops; ease of distribution and product delivery; affordable prices, etc.
There is no denying that companies in the fashion and design industry are including internationalization and e-commerce or online sales in their business plans, sometimes on a fully strategic and structural basis. Nonetheless, it is equally true that the internationalization of certain brands or their online presence as a sales channel has not been properly planned and mistakes are made that can potentially cause a company serious damage.
Following in the wake of this progress, as tends to occur in the legal world and in order to try to address its needs, over the last few years an area of law has sprung up that does not really fit into one sole traditional discipline, but which is steadily gaining ground and looks certain to carve a niche for itself in the list of legal glossaries and specialized practice areas: “Fashion Law” One definition of this discipline could be that it takes in a wide array of traditional specialties and several new ones in a bid to address the problems faced by the fashion world, focusing in particular on the business aspects we highlighted at the beginning of this post.
Thus, Fashion Law deals not only with industrial property (trademarks, designs, licenses), copyright and commercial contracts (agency, distribution, franchise), but also with electronic commerce, distance sales, electronic payment methods, data protection, international consumer law, etc.
Indeed, it is a very specific and highly specialized niche market and as such there are already individuals who work exclusively in these areas in the legal world. In this field, perhaps more than any other, we might be justified in talking about a legal “boutique”, but perhaps also a passing fad.
For the time being, at Garrigues our aim is to take a closer look at this industry, organizing the event “Diseño y Moda, Nuevas Vías de Expansión”.