Attire, cosmetics, appearance, and hairstyles all fall under the umbrella of fashion, which refers to trends and style. Since the beginning of time, fashion has been a vital component of human civilization and has been nothing but growing. Fashion regulations have developed in response to the competition between individuals and brands to safeguard the apparel sector. Through the inclusion of numerous types of intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights, and occasionally patents and trade secrets, these laws create a unique legal framework for the fashion sector. In this market, protection is necessary for manufacturers, designers, merchants, distributors, modeling agencies, and customers. Fashion attorneys are essential in helping clients with legal matters and guaranteeing brand development, safety, and compliance. Contract law, employment law, consumer protection law, and intellectual property law are among the laws that govern the fashion sector in India. Organizations like the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) fight for stricter fashion rules. The Trade Marks Act of 1999, The Copyright Act of 1957, and The Design Act of 2000  are essential pieces of Indian legislation. These rules support the expansion of the Indian fashion sector while protecting the interests of stakeholders and consumers. This research paper will basically take you through the concept of fashion and law combined while shedding light on the role of lawyers in this apparel industry and various Indian legislations.
Fashion, Apparel Industry, Law, Intellectual Property, Trademark, Copyright, Regulations, Crime, Rights, Business
The term fashion has a wide meaning – it can be understood from clothes to make-up and hair. What does come up in our minds when we hear the term fashion? Probably something that is trendy or in style. Fashion has been present from the very first beginnings of mankind and has been in a constant process of evolution since then. It is a language that can be understood across the world. The human race is all about keeping up with others and being competitive. Whether your competition is for the clothes or whether whose appearance is the best. Now competition can’t only be seen among people who want to keep up with the trend but also among the ones who make these trends, the ones who are the owners of the brands and products. Now due to this competition, laws for fashion come into the picture. With the rise in demand in the apparel industry, some regulations need to be made in order for effective business. Various aspects of intellectual property rights, such as trademark law, copyright law, and occasionally even patent and trade secret law, have been included into the development of fashion laws, resulting in the creation of a distinct legal system. These rules provided the fashion sector with a distinctive and particular legal sanctity, addressing its particular demands and concerns. Fashion is the medium through which an individual’s art is presented, and the designers’ original ideas and creativity are essential to the industry. Brands and enterprises in this industry rely heavily on exclusivity to differentiate themselves from competitors by evoking a sense of exclusive charm. The more popular a brand becomes, the more people want to buy its items, which raises demand and generates profits. However, the act of copying or counterfeiting poses a huge risk to the economy as a whole as well as to multinational fashion businesses in India.
This study is descriptive in character, and the research used for the in-depth examination of the relationship between fashion and law in India is based on secondary sources. The study makes use of secondary sources of data, including books, journals, and various websites.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The origin and development of fashion law are discussed in a book, which was published in 2017. It illustrates the significance and relevance of law in the world of fashion. It also displays the fashion business and intellectual property rights in different nations like Europe and America. A book of fashion law deals with a wide range of legal concerns that arise during the life of a fashion item, from the necessity to safeguard the creative expression of the designer to issues involving the protection of the final customer. The fundamental characteristics of this new area of law, which are deeply ingrained in many cultural contexts.
Sanjeev’s book on fashion lays down the concept of fashion and regulation in relation to our country- India. It talks about fashion organizations and crimes. Gives its view on intellectual property rights and fashion design from an Indian perspective.
The article by legal service India (website) discusses fashion law, a subset of the law that focuses on issues related to the fashion industry, such as design protection and intellectual property rights. Lawyers for the fashion industry assist clients with a variety of legal issues, such as licensing, contracts, issues involving trademarks and copyright, and consumer protection. The information also mentions the Copyrights Act and Design Act, two Indian statutes that safeguard designers’ creations.
As fashion law is examined in the article by a legal associate of a top law firm, the fashion business is recognized as a crucial area of relevance. Despite the fact that there isn’t a single legislation that governs the fashion industry, it is noted that a number of laws, such as the Trademark Act, Designs Act, Geographical Indication Act, and Copyright Act, are important in safeguarding intellectual property rights in the industry. The essay emphasizes how crucial it is for businesses and designers to be aware of their legal rights and take the necessary safety measures to protect their work.  The history, development, and application of fashion law to the fashion industry are all covered by team lawyered as it provides insight on fashion law in India. The article focuses on the importance of legal protection for the fashion industry, the significance of intellectual property rights, and the Indian laws that protect designers’ creations. Additionally, it discusses how consumer protection, labor law, and contract law overlap with fashion law.
WHO REQUIRES THE PROTECTION?
Now laws and regulations are made to protect the apparel or fashion industry. The people who need this protection are manufacturers, stakeholders, designers, retailers, distributors, agencies for modeling, and buyers or consumers. Now, fashion has developed from the imagination, ideals, and ideas of an individual or a business. As soon as these ideas are launched or made public, they require immediate safety. Protection must be sought to stop widespread and unnoticed crimes and infringements of copyright, trademarks, and intellectual property. This is especially important given the prevalence of copied designs, logos, trademarks, or a certain personal touch and conceptions, which have been made worse by the internet’s explosive expansion. Strong and specialized legal measures created especially for the fashion industry are thus urgently needed. Similarly, consumers/buyers/audiences need protection from getting scammed or fooled in terms of quantity or quality. We also need to be aware and protected as we can be harmed too by any local copies of the brand or any conman of the services provided.
Now we have heard of family lawyers, criminal lawyers, lawyers for civil disputers, but fashion lawyer is a very new and exciting term. These fashion lawyers see the play the role of knowing this industry and working its way through it. They understand and analyze the ethics and role a brand should play in the business. Fashion Lawyers regulate their clients’ safety, advise what kind of brand development is needed and assist the functioning of a business. Fashion legal professionals have a variety of duties and obligations, including advising their clients on legal alternatives in the clothing, luxury goods, footwear, jewelry, and cosmetics industries, as well as in the areas of fashion designs, brands, fabrics, and garments. These legal experts are anticipated to provide all-inclusive services in areas including intellectual property, employment and labor relations, franchise agreements, merchandising, distribution, and licensing. These types of lawyers also play the role of negotiating and drafting the terms and conditions of a contract and laying down the rules once the brand decides to go public. They have the duty toward their clients to check upon their trademark or copyright issues and matters of intellectual property rights.
INDIAN LAWS AND REGULATIONS FOR FASHION
India, therefore, has established regulations for the governance of the fashion sector and for safeguarding it from unfair trade practices, just like every other nation. Due to its expanding presence in our nation, it is one that is heavily monitored. A few of the legal fields that fall within the category of fashion law include contract law, employment law, consumer protection law, and, most importantly, intellectual property law, which has a considerable impact on the field. The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) is a non-profit organization that supports tougher and more comprehensive fashion laws in India. The FDCI is an entity that promotes and works to secure the long-term growth of the Indian fashion industry. In India, The Fashion Foundation of India is a newly constituted body consisting of the leading fashion designers seeking legal remedies as applicable. Laws regarding ‘intellectual property’ in India provide protection under the Design Act 2000, the Copyright Act of 1957, and the Geographical Indications of Goods (GI) (Registration and Prohibition Act) 1999.
Laws in India relating to it are –
- THE COPYRIGHT ACTS OF 1957:
Section 15 – Special provisions regarding copyright in designs registered or capable of being registered under the Designs Act, 1911. In accordance with this Act, the following two crucial guidelines are established for the copyright of designs that may be registered under the Designs Act: 1) The Copyright Act may provide protection for a design as an artistic work. However, if the design is not registered under the Designs Act, it cannot coexist with copyright protection. 2) If a design is replicated more than fifty times by the copyright owner or a person using a licence from the owner using an industrial process, in some cases, the copyright protection for that work will lapse. The copyright and design acts overlap as a result of this provision.
THE DESIGN ACTS 2000:
“design” means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament, or composition…..This definition of design has been mentioned under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act,
In the fashion industry, design protection is crucial for preserving the originality and inventiveness of fashion designers’ creations. The Designs Act is an essential piece of Indian law that gives designers exclusive control over the distinctive features of their works, protecting them from being unfairly copied or duplicated by others in the marketplace.
In accordance with the Designs Act, a “design” refers to a variety of aesthetically pleasing aspects that give a product its distinctive appearance. These elements include shapes, configurations, patterns, ornamentation, and compositions of lines or colors. This regulation aims to recognize how important design is as a part of a product’s identity and brand value in the marketplace. To maintain a balance between safeguarding original designs and making sure that key components of intellectual property are not impacted, the Designs Act also includes a number of exemptions. For instance, under the Designs Act, protection is not available for trademarks or creative works as described in clause (c) of Section 2 of the Copyright Act. This omission can appear to be a restriction for designers who want to safeguard their trademark-equivalent fashion creations. To protect the distinctive branding elements of their fashion creations in such circumstances, they might need to look into alternate options, such as trademark registration.
Compared to depending entirely on the Copyright Act, experienced fashion designers may find it more financially practical to rely on the Designs Act to protect their designs. The Designs Act may provide a higher level of detail and exclusivity for fashion designs than the Copyright Act, despite the Copyright Act protecting creative works such as literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works. The protection of copyright largely prioritizes the expression of ideas over the decorative or aesthetically pleasing elements that are essential to the fashion business.
- GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS OF GOODS (GI TAG) ACT 1999:
The last thing to note is that geographic indications are mostly employed to protect products depending on their country of origin. In the fashion business, it is typically paired with handicrafts from places like Orissa Ikat from Odisha, Chanderi Sari from Madhya Pradesh, Bhagalpur Silk from Bihar, and Banarasi Sarees from Banaras.
- THE TRADE MARKS ACT OF 1999:
An act to modify and combine the law relating to trademarks, establish better protection for trademarks for services and goods, and prevent the use of deceptive marks.
Streamline the trademark registration procedure by making it easier and faster to register fashion trademarks. In doing so, it would motivate fashion designers to safeguard their brands and lessen instances of trademark infringement. As human race hates waiting and being indulged in a long process. The Designs Act does have certain drawbacks, though. It can take many months to register a design under this Act, which is damaging to an industry that creates new designs at an alarming rate. In some cases, the time it takes to register a design may even exceed the time it will be usable when printed on garments. This discomfort could cause clothes designers financial and logistical difficulties. So this is also a concern we can raise and make the process more simplified and less lengthy.
Given that local manufacturers and creators are less familiar with legal requirements, are frequently coerced by large fashion houses to either copy their work and sell it, or buy it from them for a much lower price, taking advantage of their lack of commercial expertise to profit greatly from the labor of others. My recommendation, then, is to raise awareness among these local businesses. Collaboration between government and industry can be impactful. Promote interaction between government agencies, associations for the fashion industry, and fashion designers in order to create thorough policies and rules that handle the particular requirements and difficulties of the fashion business. This cooperation may aid in developing a favorable legal environment. Continuous monitoring and updating will give rise to people being in check and fearful of committing these crimes. In order to accommodate the constantly changing fashion sector, it is necessary to periodically evaluate and update the current laws and regulations. Keep track of global trends and harmonize Indian fashion rules with global norms. Basically to boost awareness and education is the aim and main goal.
Regarding the number of duplicates or “first copies,” as they are sometimes referred to in Indian street fashion, there is also a problem. This is because a lot of people want the trend at a low price. Many well-known brands have their same designs replicated and sold in a variety of street stores around metropolitan cities. It is challenging to identify and take legal action against such vendors because of the enormous amount of such first copies.
As a result of the fashion industry’s enormous growth and competition, fashion laws have been created. The fashion industry has a legal framework thanks to these regulations, which cover intellectual property rights including trademarks, copyrights, and designs. These rules must provide protection for manufacturers, designers, retailers, distributors, modeling agencies, and consumers. Even though fashion law is still in its infancy, it may not be immediately clear that comprehensive laws tailored specifically to the industry are necessary and applicable. Existing regulations do, however, need to be altered in order to better account for the nuances of the fashion sector. The identification and application of pertinent laws are becoming more and more crucial as the field of fashion law develops. While France and the United States have made major strides in regulating the fashion industry, India’s laws have not given this topic only a little bit of weight. While groups like the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) have long supported the sector, the recent boom in digital media has brought to light a number of new issues. Although present regulations might not offer extensive protection, it is necessary for fashion designers to recognize and make use of the few protections offered in order to prevent severe financial losses and maintain competitiveness in the fast-moving fashion industry. Even though India itself is growing in the fashion industry it will be soon able to catch up and amend some regulations for the same. Fashion designers should make use of the few protections that are now available to them, even though they are not comprehensive. Neglecting these safeguards can cause them to suffer large financial losses and reduce their ability to compete in the fashion industry. To ensure brand development, safety, and compliance, fashion lawyers are essential in providing clients with legal advice, so the role of these lawyers is also increasing. Fashion Lawyers are also getting recognized and now there are worldwide courses for them to do, in order to particularly specialize in that field. Thus this field is a that will constantly be changing, and the fashion industry is starting to recognize its importance more and more. It ensures that original designs are legally protected, prevents copyright violations and counterfeiting, and encourages ethical business practices through various measures and more are yet to come.
NAME – MEHAK VERMA
COLLEGE – INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT, ROHTAK
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 The Copyrights Act, 1957, §15, No. 14, Act of Parliament, 1957 (India)
 The Designs Act,2000, §2(d)No. 16, Acts of Parliament, 2000 (India)