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New Fashion Law Institute Sews Up Legal Niche

Posted Aug 12, 2010 1:40 PM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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Fashion is serious business. Just ask Susan Scafidi, who next month will help Fordham University open its Fashion Law Institute, a first in legal academia.

Scafidi, who blogs at Counterfeit Chic, has developed a niche focusing on fashion-related legal issues and pushing for intellectual property protections for designers who are plagued by copycats.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Scafidi said, at the institute, "We’ll be training lawyers of the future, and providing legal assistance to designers who can't afford it for when they’re facing difficulties."

When asked how she responds if someone tells her about earning respect for fashion law in legal circles, she said, "The legal community respects money. And this industry globally turns over more than a trillion dollars annually."

Scafidi said that answer typically silences any objection to fashion law as a respectable field. "My feeling is you can fight the perception of frivolity, or you can take it and run with it. I love to play with it. And you know, it creates a very friendly space for a lot of students who would otherwise feel a little bit alienated by the law."

The Fashion Law Institute, which is set to formally launch on Sept. 8, is funded in large part by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

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