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Capable and Elegant: What It’s Like to Be a Fashion Lawyer, an Interview with Partner Douglas Hand

Capable and Elegant: What It’s Like to Be a Fashion Lawyer

We start our new section with the exclusive interview with a famous New York dandy, a founding partner of Hand Baldachin Amburgey LLP (HBA) and a successful fashion lawyer Douglas Hand. What is it like to be a fashion lawyer and what his book “Laws of Style” is about, Douglas told in a conversation with Anna Zabrotskaya.

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ABA Journal Discusses the Lawyer Fashion Evolution featuring Partner Douglas Hand

Lawyer fashion evolves to reflect personality and tradition

It wasn’t long ago that professional dress for lawyers was constrained and predictable. Womenswear was derivative of menswear, closets were full of monochromatic color schemes, and nude pantyhose or a jacket and tie were part of the daily uniform. It was an era of boxy-shouldered suits, when business casual was an oxymoron and dress codes were often strictly enforced.

These days, legal fashion has loosened up. Depending on where you live and your practice area, women are sporting sleeveless dresses at work and men are wearing dress shoes with no socks.

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Not Just Catwalks: A Closer Look at Fashion Law LL.M.s featuring insight from Partner Douglas Hand

Not Just Catwalks: A Closer Look at Fashion Law LL.M.s

A few fashion-focused LL.M. degrees have cropped up, signaling burgeoning interest in the field. But fashion law isn’t just about the runway and clothes. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the programs offered, and what it takes to break into the industry.

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HBA Litigation Group Successfully Fends Off Attempt to Enjoin Use of the “New York Fashion Week” Name

In a case involving the signature events in American fashion, HBA litigators fended off a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented HBA’s client the Council of Fashion Designers of America (the “CFDA”) from using the New York Fashion Week name.

New York Fashion WeekFashion Week, Inc. (“FWI”) presents fashion shows to consumers, unlike than the shows directed to the fashion industry and media that have long been the foundation of New York Fashion Week.  After using other names to put on its shows, FWI obtained a trademark registration on the Supplemental Register for the term “New York Fashion Week” in 2014.  FWI began using that name even though it only put on one show at a time, taking place on only one day.

As it had for many decades, the CFDA had continued to use the New York Fashion Week name to promote the fashion events that it had scheduled, including the semi-annual women’s fashion events.  But on June 28, 2016, FWI brought a lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order against the CFDA and co-defendant WME IMG LLC (“IMG”) claiming that the defendants’ use of the trademarks NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and NYFW infringed FWI’s claimed rights to those marks.  On the next day, Judge John G. Koeltl of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that FWI had not made the requisite showing of irreparable harm and set a briefing schedule for FWI’s preliminary injunction motion to be heard on August 4, 2016.

In response to that motion, the CFDA argued that:  (1) FWI’s long delay in bringing its motion – roughly 18 months – negated any claims of irreparable harm; (2) FWI had not developed any trademark rights to NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and NYFW because it had no registrations on the Principal Register and could not make any showing that consumers identified those marks with FWI; and (3) the CFDA had prior trademark rights to the NEW YORK FASHION WEEK and NYFW trademarks because of its prior use of those trademarks and the public association of them with the CFDA.  In support of the last point, the CFDA submitted substantial evidence of media coverage, testimony from industry professionals, and even FWI’s own promotional materials that used those trademarks to refer to the CFDA’s events rather than FWI’s.


HBA joins the Luxury Law Alliance

I only like luxury fashion. You have to decide where you stand. I like well-made, authentic clothes, well-crafted tailoring. I also like the dream and fantasy of luxury, the exception and rarity of it. I have no interest at all in fast retail. It is ambiguous. – Hedi Slimane

The law as it applies to luxury fashion companies is nuanced and evolving.  As such, the need to network with other lawyers working in the industry has never been greater.  The Luxury Law Alliance is the world’s first connected network for luxury lawyers. Its alumni include the best luxury companies with a network that showcases its members to the world of luxury from a legal perspective. After partner Douglas Hand attended and spoke at the Luxury Law Summit in London in May 2016, HBA was invited to become a member of the Luxury Law Alliance. HBA will continue to grow its already successful international practice headed by partner Carl Van der Zandt with engagements with fashion and luxury companies in Europe.