Hannah Rosenberg/Sun Senior Editor

Cornell Law School on April 21, 2021. This unique course will be open to undergraduates but taught in the law school.

January 22, 2023

New Fashion Class Offers Insight Into Fashion Law

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Calling all fashion majors and minors, a new class has been added to the course roster for Spring semester, LAW 4061: Fashion Law, a one credit course offered on Fridays. 

Taught by Dr. Deirdre Hay, director of LL.M. and International Career Services, who is teaching a course for the first time at Cornell, LAW 4061: Fashion Law will provide a general overview of the subject matter, as fashion law is a mix of several types of law. 

“It’s a quick run through [and] the broad gamut of it,” Hay said. “And it’s also the first time I’m doing it … but I don’t want to overwhelm people. The real goal is to develop within the students’ a radar where they know there’s a legal issue.”

Hay hopes that students will learn to identify legal or antitrust issues if they plan to work in fashion law or the fashion industry. 

This class will be the first of its kind. It has not been offered through the Office of the University Registrar, but there have been guest speakers on the topic, according to Prof. Fran Kozen, fiber science and apparel design. 

“Intellectual property and counterfeiting are two big legal areas [that] Hay is going to touch on … but also on all the legal issues needed to start up a brand and be an entrepreneur in fashion,” Kozen said. 

Hay will feature many guest speakers during the semester to discuss subtopics within fashion law, each being experts within these fields. The speakers are all Cornell professors including Prof. Steve Carvell, finance, and Prof. Celia Bigoness, corporate law and financial regulation, and more.

“It’s really coming together with a whole bunch of very qualified people who know these different areas of law … so that the students get experts in the subspecialties of fashion law,” Hay said. 

Using the textbook Fashion Law as the basis for the class, the professors will delve into topics like business entity ownership structures, employment law, licensing and franchising, entrepreneurship and finance, with Hay focusing on intellectual property. 

Hay is seeking any student who has an interest in fashion or law. 

“If you want to work in the fashion industry, then you will get a lot out of this because you know you’ll get a layout of the industry.” Hay said. “And if you’ve got an interest in law, you’re going to get a taste of employment law, contract law, global trade law, IP law and antitrust law.”

Jasmine Chang ’23, a fashion minor, is excited that the fashion classes are expanding at Cornell, and are delving into more industries interconnected with fashion. 

“Fashion Law sounds like a really interesting addition to the fashion courses available here at Cornell,” Chang said in an email to The Sun. “I’m definitely open to taking this class, and would love to see a wider offering of fashion classes as the subject relates to other majors and industries, such as the business of fashion, fashion marketing and PR, and the science behind materials and fibers.”

According to Hay, after a small survey was conducted for students in the College of Human Ecology, many sought more business classes to better their degree. Hay thought a fashion law class would be a perfect fit, but it didn’t fit at the time, until this year where the class finally got permission for this Spring semester. 

“I think it’ll be great to meet the needs of students who want more business type courses,” Hay said. “I love to serve Cornell and the students and it makes me happy to see a need and be able to satisfy that.”

Fashion law will be available during the Add/Drop period until Monday, Feb. 6.