Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! Sometimes I wonder why I am so addicted to the word. I am a law student with diverse interests but my love for fashion and law is definitely not questionable. I made a discovery some years back about a unique aspect of law “drum-roll…” which is a combination of fashion and law, this amazing aspect of law is Fashion Law, fashion law is a legal field encompassing issues that arise throughout the life of a fashion business, it is an established field of study and practice (in some countries) that covers various fundamental issues which includes intellectual property protection, financing, manufacturing, marketing, employment and labor laws, customs and retailing of fashion products.
The African fashion in the present time has gained recognition in the global fashion industry. Fashion is celebrated daily and the industry has created countless entrepreneurs in Africa countries especially Nigeria. Lagos like Milan, Paris, London, New York is a fashion center. The Nigerian fashion Industry has become a vehicle in the development of the economy by creating jobs and new enterprise opportunities.
The Nigerian Fashion industry is a fast-growing industry, yet with growth comes challenges, opportunities and problems. There are no central bodies regulating the fashion industries neither are there governmental policies governing and protecting those involved in the industry. In other countries in the world, there are various laws which protects the intellectual property of designers therefore copycats can be sued for damages.
Nigerian top and upcoming fashion designers face unique challenges specific to the fashion industry, requiring laws that covers the advantages and disadvantages of various types of intellectual property protection. Moreover, the increased availability of counterfeit goods, such as fake designer bags, shoes and dresses, has created interesting new challenges for the fashion industry. In Africa, provisions of such laws are not made, thus a designer’s work/ design can be copied and there will be no remedy.
There should be provision of laws to protect the Nigerian fashion industry because the fashion industry is here to stay. Fashion law will be an effective way to address the broad spectrum of issues which top and upcoming designers encounter.