BATTLE OF THE COURTS
The past week has been a busy one in fashion-legal land. The Supreme Court of the United States heard a case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, focused on apparel design copyrights for the first time in history. The court ruled 6-2 in favor of Varsity Brands, acknowledging their copyright over the chevron and stripe design elements on cheerleading uniforms.
What are the implications? This raises the possibility that less obvious elements of design can be protected by copyright, meaning that high fashion has a stronger defense against fast fashion replicas other than their logo trademark protection.
Meanwhile, the Court of Justice of the European Union will be hearing the case of German company Coty, who wants to stop a retailer from selling its goods on Amazon without permission. The outcome could set a precedent on whether luxury goods companies can restrict third party retailers from distributing their products on marketplaces in order to protect their exclusive brand image.
MILLENNIALS ARE SO OVER
Future-proofing your business requires examining how consumer demographics are changing. Articles on how millennial spending on experience over material possessions have affected bottom lines are abundant. But what about the future consumer? RetailDive explores the nuances of Generation Z, who are approximately 2.6 billion members strong worldwide with access to $44 billion in buying power. Those are impressive figures, and retailers shouldn't overlook this rising bloc of digitally-borne consumers.
ROLLING WITH THE PUNCHES
Politics and fashion have never been mutually exclusive, and fashion's susceptibility to the wider political climate has never been more apparent. Business of Fashion sums up the current global situation very clearly in three easy reads:
1) The luxury sector needs to brace itself. Protectionist policies and trade disputes between the US, the EU and China (the world's largest three economies in that order) will undoubtedly impact luxury brands and retailers one way or another. Business of Fashion gives an overview and breaks down the impact of three worst-case scenarios.
2) On March 29, 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May signed the official notice triggering Article 50. With Brexit officially underway, UK's fashion industry worries about retaining a free trade agreement with the EU, the ease of trading with non-EU countries, the free movement of employees, and competitive tax to help local brands and retailers absorb the costs of Brexit.
3) China is at loggerheads with South Korea over the latter's decision to deploy the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The Chinese government has since promoted boycotts of Korean products through state-run media, restricted Chinese tourist travel to South Korea and pressured Korean business operations in China to shut down. Such a blow certainly does not help South Korea's fashion and beauty industry, especially in the aftermath of ex-President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.
VENI, VIDI, EMI?
I came, I saw, I bought. Immediate gratification is the key to fashion's current buzz phrase: the see-now, buy-now strategy. WWD tracks the pioneers of this new business model, presenting success stories (Tommy Hilfiger, Rebecca Minkoff) and those who have turned tail (Tom Ford). Interestingly, high-end jewelers such as Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels seem to be following suit in experimenting with see-now, buy-now elements.
The fashion world is still holding its breath on how this strategy will turn out.
☀️ THIS WEEK'S BRIGHT SPOT ☀️
Here's a balm for fashion week withdrawals- the fact that fashion week season is not entirely over. Over the years, smaller (but no less grand) fashion weeks have sprung out in other capital cities and have introduced new global vibrancy in international markets. Yea we're talking about South Africa Fashion Week, Tokyo Fashion Week and Seoul Fashion Week, just to name a few.
Need to know more? We talk about the fashion weeks outside of the Big Four in our most recent article.