Fashion is a rare combination of art and science. It combines the best of right and left brain thinking and creativity in order to work for commercial success. And, this is so regardless of whether the business in question is wholesale, retail, modeling, manufacturing, licensing, photographing, factoring, designing or any of many other sub-parts of the worldwide fashion business. And let us not forget fashion financing.
Fashion law and business is a special love of the Replin Law Group, LLC because of the creativity that can be brought to bear when building the business foundation of a fashion business. Creativity in both the business and in the art form of fashion make the collaboration of the artist/designer and the lawyer beautiful music when it works together.
The many aspects of the business that all must work to create beautiful and successful items all have to be dealt with contracts, agreements, specificity, definition, and proper costing and accounting in addition to how the components work in the fashion piece itself. Add this to real estate issues to import and export issues to labor issues and you have a business which quickly becomes complex and like a puzzle that should all just fit together.
Without a solid foundation, no business can expect to grow and develop and last! But I’m not talking about stitching, color, and patterns. I’m talking about your business structure; your capital structure; your ownership plan; your organization chart; your business plan; your strategic plan; and so on and so on and so on. What is your arrangement with your co-owners? What is your arrangement with your graphic designer? What is your relationship with your sales department? Ever think about any of these things in any way other than just handshakes with friends, and a friend who can do your books?
Have you ever considered your brand? Do you realize the value that resides in your company name, its logo, and maybe even its tag line? This is the new frontier of value! A good fashion lawyer will be there to urge you to protect your brand before you even expose it to the marketplace. Once it’s out there for all to see unprotected, you are at risk of someone taking your great name and logo.
A good fashion lawyer will be there for the fashion producer to give growth advice and direction. Growth can occur in many ways in this business. Franchising, mergers, acquisitions, licensing, product expansion, international expansion, growth by going public, or just the sale of the business are all possible methods to move your company forward. The important decisions about which direction to go is one that should be made with your board of directors who have any business experience, with the help of your trusted attorney.
The business of fashion follows the specific area of fashion in which you are operating. For example, cosmetics business is slightly different from accessories, which is slightly different from fragrances, which is different from swimwear, and children’s wear is different from menswear. As you work through the differences, contracts change and standard operating procedures change and a good lawyer will keep your business protected no matter what comes at him or her.