- By Ritika
Amity Law Scool
‘’Fashion is the mania for a particular period of time, it is basically the combination of clothing, accessories, makeup, and lifestyle. It is something which is very internal which changes from time to time’’0
Fashion law, also commonly known as apparel law, provides brand security and deals with issues concerning the life of the garments we normally wear or see people wearing. The types of clients one may normally find in the field of fashion law includes designers, fashion houses, manufacturers, suppliers, modelling agencies, retailers, as well as photographers.
Fashion has existed in India for ages and will continue to do so. It will keep on modifying with the evolving environment as fashion in itself is a dynamic concept. In India, three separate legislations appear to be regulating the apparel and design regime. The Intellectual Property laws in India provides protection to apparel under the Design Act 2000, the Copyright Act 1957, and the Geographical Indications of Goods Act 1999.
The Design Act, 2000, in a nutshell, only protects a registered design– but not those that are not duly registered. The said Act is drafted to provide protection to creativity that has visual appeal; for example, shape configuration, pattern, ornament, or composition of lines, or colours applied to any two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional art form. In case of piracy, the person is liable to pay the sum of (not exceeding) Rs.25,000.
Meanwhile, the Copyright Act and Designs Act overlap each other on the matter of design protection. A fashion design that is capable of being registered as a ‘design’ under the Designs Act, 2000 and is registered as per the provisions of the Act will get protection only under the Designs Act and nowhere else. However, a fashion design that is capable of being registered as a ‘design’ under the Designs Act, 2000 but is not registered as such, will get copyright protection under the Copyright Act, 1957. The original artistic work, as contrasted with the applied artistic work i.e., the design, would continue to fall within the ambit of artistic work under the Copyright Act and shall be entitled to copyright protection.
A trademark is useful for a fashion design only in circumstances where it is visibly integrated into the design to such an extent that it becomes an element of the design. There is a growing tendency among fashion designers to incorporate a trademarked logo upon the visible part of the garment at the time of the creation of clothing and accessory designs. In these circumstances, the logo becomes a part of the design; thus, the trademark provides significant protection against design piracy. Further, the brand names also become the subject matter of protection under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. Lastly, GI Act provides for the classification of goods protectable under the Act. The registration depicts the protection of the texture and the artistic value used in the creation of fabric.0
Influencer law 0
With the changing world, a new trend has significantly been incorporated to advertise brands. Earlier, brands were promoted by celebrities but now, with the ever-changing trends, has emerged the new term: the ‘influencers.’ They are the individuals who advertise brands through their content on their social media platforms. Nevertheless, the decision to buy the product is still in the hands of the viewers. The latest marketing and promotion strategy adopted by brands is the influencer marketing strategy, in which agreements are made with the influencer such that they receive the brand product and promote it on their blogs or through their social media pages.
This new marketing strategy, however, is not bound by any formal law. In order to fix the influencers liability, the buyers have various means under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, Central Consumer Protection Authority (Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Necessary Due Diligence for Endorsement of Advertisements) Guidelines, 2020 (or the ‘2020 Guidelines’) and Advertising Standards Council of India’s Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising. The 2020 Guidelines have included the power to impose penalties and prosecute such influencers for ‘misleading advertisements.’ Furthermore, the Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising specifies the rules and regulations to maintain the authenticity of the claims being made in advertisements by such influencers and celebrities. By issuing these guidelines, the authorities are able to keep these influencers under a proper watch in order to protect the consumers. 0
Problem with existing fashion laws 0
The problems with the protection offered in the fashion industry are due to its dynamic environment. Every fashion house releases several articles throughout the year to keep up with the requirement of the current ongoing trend. This high developing pace may counter the problem of lack of time, as the procedure of registration under the provided laws are very time-consuming.
The time for the procedure of registration is generally more than the shell life of an article and there is no protection of the creator work in case of non-registration. In addition to that, the pecuniary damages related to fashion does not exceed Rs 50,000. Moreover, the major problem with the fashion industry is that sometimes the core element of design is copied and other things such as the fabric or the colours are changed which gives the impression of the work not being copied; and thus, seeking protection and remedy against this becomes difficult.0
Ways to become a successful fashion lawyer
Currently, there is no specific way to become a fashion lawyer but choosing the right education can definitely help you to be successful. The field of fashion law is an emerging area of practice; it is complex and unique as it covers a large area of creative work but still solely focuses on a specific segment of society. This results in very few schools and universities offering fashion law as the fashion lawyers are more interested in practising in the field than in teaching in schools.
A fashion lawyer must learn to speak clearly and use casual yet understandable wordings such that it could be easy for their client to understand what they are trying to convey. They should possess a good amount of knowledge about clothes and fashion while being able to talk about fashion but still walk the walk on any nuanced issue that arises, as stated by Simon Benne. In such a field, the customers are creative; they express their imagination by thinking out of the box. Creativity is a conscious act that calls for time and effort – something that the fashion lawyer, in this case, also has to practice. Write, ride, meditate, take long showers, whatever stirs up your imagination so that you can provide legally sound and creative advice when necessary. 000
Hence, we can conclude that the fashion industry is as important as any other industry on the market. The laws in this industry carry a lot of importance as the protection of the creative work of an artist becomes necessary; especially with how a lot of people try forging their design by finding a loophole in the laws, which essentially leads to the loss of artists who create such design, resulting in their discouragement to be more creative.