Fordham Law

The Law of the Fashion Show: Fordham Fashion Law Institute NYFW 2012

Susan Scafidi in Disciples of Haute (blog), April 23, 2012

Media Source

On the Friday of fashion week, fashionistas, designers, and their attorneys converged on Fordham Law School to participate in a panel discussion entitled ‘The Law of the Fashion Show’. Led by Professor Susan Scafidi, founder and director of the Fashion Law Institute, the event opened with extended introductions by each speaker, followed by a question and answer segment. Besides the logistics of organizing a show, casting models, and making sure the collection is ready for the runway, I had no idea how many contracts were involved in bringing a designer’s vision to life.

The panelist represented a range of industry figures, including an entertainment attorney and in-house legal counsel at Wilhelmina models. The featured speakers were Emmett McCarthy (designer and former Project Runway participant), Amanda Sachs (deputy general counsel at Tory Burch), Daniel Schulman (finance director at Milk Studios, and current Fordham Law student), Doreen Small (counsel at Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe LLP and Fordham Law adjunct professor), Steve Gordon (a veteran entertainment attorney), and Ali Grace (associate director of Business & Legal Affairs for Wilhelmina Models and Fordham Law adjunct professor).

- Production companies contract with designers to produce the shows that you see at Lincoln Center and other off-site locales
- Models, hair and make-up artists, and DJ’s are all under contract
- Contracts for models can stipulate, among other things, the time that the models must arrive at the venue
- Bundle agreements involve agencies offering a designer their most in-demand model (such as Karlie Kloss) in a ’package’ deal with 3-4 other models from the agency
- The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), a performing rights organization, owns one of the largest music/media catalogues. As such, DJ’s (or the fashion show/presentation host venue) must secure the rights to play the music selected for the show.
- Rights of use on images of runway models in print, editorial, and bloggers; and
- Contracts needed to stream runway shows online or broadcast on television

Overall, the discussion was really insightful and I was able to meet some really interesting people!