Is the Fashion Industry Racist…?

…according to Balance Diversity, Iman and Naomi Campbell, yes.

Balance Diversity is an organization that monitors the world’s high profile fashion shows to ensure that there is racial and ethnic diversity on the runway.  And if there isn’t, Balance Diversity will speak up.

In fact, earlier this month Balance Diversity wrote open letters to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, The British Fashion Council, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiano and Federation francaise de la Couture identifying specific designers that are shown at the New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks which are notorious for not employing diverse models.  It will be interesting to see whether runways will start to reflect reality.


Grassroots Model Movement Gains Traction

Over the past few years, CanadaFashionLaw has followed a grassroots movement within the modelling community.  Models are taking it upon themselves to cohesively promote certain workplace standards.  In some instances, modelling groups have issued a Bill of Rights.  Although more ‘policy’ than binding law, it was a serious step toward formalizing workplace standards for models. 

Yesterday’s announcement that Vogue UK signed a legally binding contract to promote ethical workplace standards for its models is a big step forward.  Below are some of the terms:

  • models will be treated with ‘respect and professionalism’
  • they will not be degraded or demeaned
  • all meals and beverages will be provided on set
  • models will approve any partial or full nudity
  • the working day will be limited to 10 hours a day, with regular breaks
  • models under the age of 16 will not be used to represent adults (it’s about bloody time!)
  • all young models will be chaperoned by an adult

In any other industry, these standards would be, well, standard,  Although this is a great step forward, CanadaFashioLaw can’t help but be saddened by the fact that it is a step forward. 

Fashion Tidbits

After a little hiatus, CanadaFashionLaw is back and, mon dieu, do we have some stuff to chat about!

1.  Galliano Makes a Come Back


You may recall Galliano’s fall from grace after his MAJOR fashion faux pas – hurling racist comments. (Click here if you need a reminder).  After two years of radio silence, Galliano may be making a come back.  Oscar de la Renta, the master of the red carpet, is allowing Galliano to use some of this studio space on a temporary basis.  It will be interesting to see whether Galliano will be accepted again.


2. Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent Continue their Stomp Off


If you had the slightest interest in shoes, the colour red or fashion law last year, I’m pretty sure you heard about the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent case. (Click here for all the juicy details). Although the court released its decision and Louboutin chose not to appeal, this matter has not been put to bed.  As per the decision, Louboutin is required to amend the colour claim in its trade-mark registration. The parties are now embroiled in a chain of letters to and from the US Patent and Trademarks Office about how exactly the colour claim should be revised.  Who said being a fashion lawyer wasn’t fun?


3. Ford Modelling Agency Closes its Toronto Office


In a surprise announcement, esteemed modelling agency Ford Models closed its Toronto office in January 2013.  Ford Models did not issue a press release and there is no indication as to why the Toronto office was closed.  Nonetheless, Toronto’s competing modelling agencies were quick to swoop in to sign those models who had been signed to Ford Models.


4. CanadaFashionLaw Struts its Stuff


CanadaFashionLaw has some exciting things coming up.  If you’re interested in getting up to speed on all things fashion, the following may interest you:


– We’ll be featured in the style edition of The University of Toronto’s alumni magazine talking about the bigger ramifications of counterfeiting;


– As a board member of the Toronto chapter of Fashion Group International, we’ll be hosting a 4-part roundtable series on laws relevant to the fashion industry.


– In April, we’ll be speaking at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago at their Fashion Law Society conference.


– In May, we’re hosting a roundtable seminar at the International Trademarks Association’s Annual General Meeting on fashion law, (which sold out on the first day.  That’s right – we did a happy dance!)


If this is any indication, 2013 is going to be a busy year!