July 2011 Archives

Toted Away

Alas, Counterfeit Chic arrived at eBay too late to secure this season's limited edition "it" tote -- the fashion-for-a cause-version of the "it" bag.  The CFDA-eBay collaboration to combat counterfeiting and celebrate original design included the basic $35 model, bearing the slogan, "You Can't Fake Fashion,"

CFDA_tote_YouCantFakeFashion.jpgand $150 customized versions from 50 different designers.  Particularly clever versions included Calvin Klein Collection's python-trimmed transformation from tote to elegant clutch,

CFDA_tote_Calvin_Klein.jpgFoley and Corinna's re-creation of their own much-copied classic,

CFDA_tote_Foley_Corinna.jpgand Narciso Rodriguez's deceptively simple Swarovski-studded transformation of the "C" in "Can't" to a copyright symbol.  As Narciso knows all too well from personal experience, you can't (legally) counterfeit fashion's trademarks, but under copyright law you can still knock off a fashion design.  Given the context and his personal commitment to the "fashion copyright" cause, this bold red copyright symbol is the epitome of aspirational style.

CFDA_tote_Narciso_Rodriguez.jpgAnd speaking of aspiration, here's hoping for a reissue of the sold-out tote!  Or better still, a time when its message is no longer necessary.   

Again.
Popcorn_popoer.jpg
With public announcement of the upcoming House subcommittee hearing on the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (IDPPPA, or ID3PA, as Star Wars fans might prefer) this Friday, my email accounts look like popcorn overflowing one of those old-fashioned theater kettle popcorn makers.  Before I'm completely buried under kernels of wit and wisdom, allow me to answer a few of your personal questions with a stroll down memory lane.  The short answer to many of them?  A long time.

If you've dropped by for a quick review of the actual bill, click here for a description of the Senate version from the last Congress, essentially the same text as the new bill in the House. 

And now, back to that mini-memoir. 

A century.  That's the period during which U.S. fashion designers have been seeking intellectual property protection from Congress -- though the historian in me always starts the story a bit earlier.  It's also happens to be how far back I can document my own family's arrival in America and involvement with the fashion industry.

15 years.  That's how far back my personal files on the question of intellectual property law and fashion design stretch.  Repeated thanks to my first research assistant, Kelly, who helped me start the research process.  (See also "A century, feels like.")

6 years.  That's the age of Counterfeit Chic, which was the first blog on fashion & law and a place to share the topics about which I'd been thinking and starting to speak and write publicly.  Happily, you read it!  In class, late at night, for work, while you were supposed to be working....  (Why the years of fairly-silent-but-not-dormant study?  Long story.)

5 years.  Exactly 5 years and 4 Congresses ago this month, in fact.  That was the first showing of Ms. Scafidi Goes to Washington -- with naivité almost equivalent to Jimmy Stewart's, despite its being my hometown -- and also the year we started teaching fashion law, another first. Last month I took a moment to reread my original congressional testimony, and there they are:  all of the arguments that have been bandied about in favor of protection since.  Maybe thinking about it for a decade first wasn't such a bad idea.

1 year.  That's how long ago the current version of the fashion design protection bill was introduced in the Senate, after a year and a half of exhaustive and exhausting negotiation and revision of the text.  Alas, after the groundbreaking bill (IMHO) was approved by the Senate Judiciary committee, the Congressional clock ran out.   

<1 year.  That's the length of time the Fashion Law Institute, the world's first academic center on the subject, has been in existence.  Yes, it's about studying, teaching, and sharing information about various aspects of fashion and intellectual property -- and so many more topics.   Of course, I've hardly slept or blogged since, but newborns require a lot of attention.

Several days hence.  Home again to Washington, which JFK infamously called the city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.  It's taken me quite a while to understand that one. 

During the 112th Congress.  (Don't all memoirs end with the hope that future perfect is more than a verb tense?)   Creative fashion designers will have celebrated the bill's passage into law -- I hope!  


Related posts: IDPPPA: Introducing the Innovative Design Protection and PIracy Prevention Act, a.k.a. Fashion Copyright, March on Washington 4, March on Washington 3, March on Washington 2, March on Washington, Washington Fashion Week 2Washington Fashion Week, Ms. Scafidi Goes to WashingtonHow I Spent My Summer VacationI'm Just a Bill