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My Journey as I Attended Fordham's Fashion Law Bootcamp

The purpose of this article is to inform readers about my time spent in NYC last May at the Summer Intensive Program (aka Fashion Law Bootcamp). Additionally, I hope to inform future participants about the anticipated agenda and unique opportunities.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Fashion Law Bootcamp at Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute in NYC. Founder and Academic Director of the Institute, Professor Susan Scafidi, ran the Bootcamp. The program took place between May 20, 2014 and May 30, 2014, but it excluded weekend and holiday activities. Classes were held each evening from 6:00pm to 9:15pm and included optional afternoon activities, which I highly recommend to individuals participating in the Bootcamp. Finally, there was a closing dinner immediately after the final class. Dinner was held at Trattoria dell’Arte, an excellent Manhattan restaurant within walking distance from Fordham Law School. The cost of the reading materials, optional activities, and closing dinner were included in the program fee.

Check in for the program included high tea on Tuesday, May 20th, from 4:00pm to 5:30pm at Fordham Law School. The tables were covered with pink tablecloths and a beautiful setting of teacups and tiers of delicious food. It was just like the high tea I had in London a few weeks ago. Not only did the decoration of the room catch my eye, but I also could not help but notice the clothing and accessories on participants in the room. Kate Spade, DVF, and BCBG, among many other designers, effortlessly decorated the women in the room. The group consisted of both men and women from around the world who were practicing attorneys, law students, or designers, with the majority being practicing attorneys.

It was during tea that I had the opportunity to meet and speak with five women who I spent most of my time with in and out of class. It was so interesting to hear all about where they were from, what areas of law they practiced, and why they decided to take this course. Although we varied in age, geographical locations, and areas of practice, we all had one thing in common—we had an overwhelmingly apparent passion for fashion. As designer Prabal Gurung once said, “A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman, but a beautiful woman with a brain is an absolutely lethal combination”—now just image a room full of these women.

After check in, it was time for class to begin. The readings for each class pertained to different topics in Fashion Law. The topics included: (1) Foundations and Less-than-Perfect Fit: How Intellectual Property Defines Fashion; (2) New Trends and Classic Cuts: The IDPA (Innovative Design Protection Act) and International Standards for Fashion Design Protection and Trademarked Names; (3) On the Seamy Side: Licensing, Manufacturing, Location, and Distribution; (4) Working It: From Designers’ Deals to Labor Reform to Model Employees; (5) The Color of Money: Fashion Financing, Pricing, and Antitrust Law; (6) “In” or “Out”: Import/Export Controls, Counterfeits, Labeling Laws, and the Fight over Fur; (7) Measuring Up: Safety, Substance, and Sustainability; and (8) You Are What You Wear: From Sumptuary Laws to Dress Codes.

While class was scheduled for three hours and fifteen minutes each evening, the last hour included interesting guest speakers whose careers related to the class topics. Hearing from professionals within the fashion and legal fields was by far the highlight of my night, but the information that I learned during the class lectures was exciting too. Some of the speakers included: Condé Nast licensing attorney, Angie Byun; fashion designer and former Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) President, Mr. Stan Herman; Customs and International Trade lawyer at Cowan, Liebowitz, & Latman, Attorney Don M. Obert; Co-CEO of Hilldun Factoring, Mr. Gary Wassner; Jones Day Partner, Attorney Brien Wassner; and jewelry designer and attorney for Etsy, Attorney Sarah Feingold.

In addition to the nightly classes, there were optional events scheduled during the day. I highly suggest that participants attend. Why? Not only do you get VIP treatment, but you may also get the opportunity to meet one of your favorite designers. Some of our day trips included a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) where we were introduced to in house counsel for the museum; a visit to the studio of sustainable jewelry designer, Melissa Joy Manning, in SOHO; a visit to the CFDA Incubator; and a visit to the design studio and showroom of fashion designer, Nanette Lepore, in the Garment District.

If you have read my ‘About Me’ page, you will know that Nanette Lepore is from my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. Like me, she graduated from Youngstown State University and even spoke at my commencement a few years ago. It was truly a pleasure to meet her and see how her products are designed and made.

This experience in NYC not only inspired me to pursue a career in an area of law that I love, but it also helped me obtain a broad network of connections with individuals who share a similar passion. The Fashion Law Bootcamp is being offered this upcoming summer from May 19, 2015 to May 29, 2015. Visit Fashion Law Bootcamp to apply.