Fashion in the Classroom: The World's First Fashion Law Institute Opens Its Doors


Fordham Law School has founded the world's first Fashion Law Institute, marking a critical effort to advance the study and application of fashion law. The Institute, which officially launched September 8, 2010 during New York City's renowned Fashion Week, will be the "primary nerve center" for all things fashion, ranging from the academic study of fashion-related legal issues to offering pro-bono legal counseling for designers in need.

Professor Susan Scafidi, who is acclaimed for her role in developing the fashion law field and credited for creating the first U.S. law school course in fashion law, is the Fashion Law Institute's Director. The Fashion Law Institute has strategically partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers for America (CFDA), which is under the guidance of President designer Diane von Furstenberg (who matched the CFDA's donation with a $50,000 personal donation to the Institute). The Institute plans to be a key resource for the industry, which produces over a trillion dollars per year globally and employs approximately 200,000 people and 800 companies in New York alone.

Fordham's Fashion Law Institute will cover key legal principles surrounding fashion, including intellectual property, licensing and trademark, and employment and labor relation issues. Real estate, customs, and safety and sustainability are also central principles greatly impacting the fashion industry that will too be explored through the Institute. One of the Fashion Law Institute's goals is to address all legal issues surrounding "the life of the garment," from garment production to consumer protection.

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