Politics, Lobbying and Fashion: A Fabulous Combination?

Last week, CanadaFashionLaw advised its readers that the Ontario Government is conducting open consultations with respect to setting up a Culture Strategy for Ontario.  Fashion is not included as part of culture.  One of CanadaFashionLaw’s mantras is: don’t ask, don’t get.  With respect to the consultation, our position is that if you don’t like the status quo, change it!  (And if you want our help to change the status quo, let us know!).  Ultimately, industry has to inform the government of the realistic ‘boots on the ground’ business impact that laws have.

There’s always an interesting dance between industry and the government.  Oftentimes industries flourish when it has government support.  When industries don’t have that support, industry players will band together to lobby the government to make laws more favourable.  Statistics on whether the Canadian fashion industry is very involved in lobbying the government for progressive change is sparse.  Sometimes this is on purpose as corporations are hesitant to demonstrate their overt influence on the government.

Examples in the US of where the fashion industry has actively lobbied government to change laws include attempts to change the US Copyright Act to include specific protection for fashion designs and to build support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  If you’re wondering why the fashion industry would have a vested interest in the TPP – the TPP will eliminate tariffs of textiles and apparel.  (Of course, this could put a major dent in the ‘Made in America’ movement).  In 2015 alone, the US fashion industry spent big on this issue.  For example, the US National Retail Federation spent $3 million on lobbying the US government, Target spent $770,00, JC Penny spent $410,000 and the Gap spent $160,000.  That is some significant investment!

It will be interesting to see if the Canadian fashion industry will band together to get the Ontario government to consider fashion to be part of culture.

If you’re interested in chatting about this more, feel free to reach out to CanadaFashionLaw.