Fashion Compliance

Fashion Compliance

Deanna Clark Fashion Compliance Interview by Faith Bowman

Deanna clarK1


The thing about fashion is that for most people, it conjures up images of


women throwing money away on whatever fancy thing comes along.


However? Fashion is actually a multi-layered business with a comprehensive


set of laws to protect designers, consumers, and the environment.


F.I.T adjunct professor and fashion compliance lawyer Deanna Clark is an


expert on how the law works and what needs to be done to enforce it. I met


her last year at a Fashion Group International event, and we bonded over


imported Italian sparkling wine and fashion. It was my pleasure to interview


her for Fashion Edits in honor of her upcoming event during NYFW.



Faith Bowman: What exactly is the Fashion Compliance group about? What


does it mean?


Deanna Clark: The term “Fashion Compliance”™ is adherence to the laws that


pertain to the apparel and textile products offered for sale, or sold within, the


U.S. and such laws that apply to the businesses engaged in such activity.

What we do in our Fashion Compliance™ practice at Schrier Shayne Koenig


Samberg & Ryne is to help designers or retail and import companies identify


which laws apply to their business operations and provide them with tools to


comply with the laws so that they can make smarter business decisions,


operate their business more efficiently, and of course, feel more confident that


they are doing what’s necessary to protect consumers.  We also assist clients


with resolving problems they are currently encountering, whether as between


vendors or for violations that they are currently facing from a government






FB:  How is fashion compliance important? Especially to consumers?


DC: Fashion Compliance is important for both sellers (retailers/importers) and




Whether they know it or not, apparel retailers, including E-tailers, are


operating in a highly regulated legal environment, the laws for which were


created to protect consumers.


Where laws are broken, lengthy investigations and penalties can result,


causing time consuming and undesired business disruptions.


From the consumer side, they want to know that they are wearing clothes and


carrying accessories that won’t harm them, whether it’s in regard to their


clothes catching on fire, or as commonly found with handbags and luggage,


with respect to a surface coatings for which a “Prop 65” or other warning label


is attached.


Consumers also want to know that they are buying what is advertised as being


sold, so if a garment is marketed as being made of “Organic Cotton” or


“Bamboo,” for example, that the article does in fact derive from such plant or


farming process.




FB: You’ve predicted that the ‘Made in America’ label will be gaining in


popularity in 2014. How will this happen and why?


DC: This is becoming more popular as a result of the highly publicized


heartbreaking tragedies which have been occurring in the foreign countries


that manufacture the majority of the clothes Americans wear and the


disappointment in the lack of transparency behind those far away operations.


“Brand USA” is also becoming more trendy in foreign markets, such as China’s


consumer market which is experiencing explosive growth right now, so these


are some of the factors coming into play with the expansion of the “Made in


USA” label.



FB:  I personally worry about the proliferation of denim brands, because there


can only be so much cotton in the world. Is there any plan to regulate the use


of cotton, to keep fashion labels from causing a shortage?


DC: As far as global cotton markets go, China actually has such a surplus of


cotton right now that it is unsure of what to with it!  What I do view as a


concern however, is the intensive amount of water used in production and


what that translates to as “big cotton” business looks to expanding production


across the African continent, many countries for which have few laws in place


to govern the conservation of resources or environmental laws.



FB: I’m curious about the fashion industry’s more involved interest in African


textiles. Can you tell us what’s going on and how that will affect production




DC: Manufacturing in Africa is growing in popularity as supply chains become


more efficient and the quality of the finished product continues to rise.  Couple


this with the low labor costs and it’s a recipe for continued growth.



FB: If there were one decision maker in the world that you could get a 15


minute meeting with, who would it be and why?


DC: Oprah Winfrey because she “gets it done” and manages to look great all


the while throughout!



Deanna and fellow lawyer Laurie Marshall will be at the Science, Business, and Industry Library at 2:30 pm on February 6th, 2014 for the ‘Fashion 

Protection: Trademark Basics and Fashion Compliance’. The address is 188 Madison Avenue, near 34th in NYC.


You can follow her at @fashcompliance on twitter, or like Fashion Compliance on Facebook.

By: Faith Bowman

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