An Open Letter to The Fordham Fashion Law Institute

Subject: An Open Letter to The Fordham Fashion Law Institute
From: Staci Riordan
Date: 7 May 2015

Dear Susan:

As a fellow fashion lawyer, I applaud what you are doing at Fordham University with the Fashion Law Institute, despite your unfortunate "pink and lavender" comments to New York Magazine, and agree that the fashion industry desperately needs fashion lawyers who have industry insight and knowledge.

I have to say, though, that the comments published in the press, touting Fordham as the legal arm of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), have left me disturbed and disappointed.

Law school is suppose to be an open forum — a safe place to share ideas, debate concepts and teach tolerance of all sides of an issue.

While I understand that the CFDA and Diane Von Furstenburg were instrumental in helping the Fashion Law Institute open, it seems that the CFDA will be forever inter-twined in its future:

"The collaborative efforts between the Fashion Law Institute and the CFDA will prove beneficial…..
“The CFDA is committed to nurturing this important new venture…..
"The CFDA’s invaluable support and advice will help ensure that the Fashion Law Institute is able to provide a resource and research platform to law students, fashion houses and especially emerging designers…"
I just hope CFDA money and its political agenda of protecting high-end New York designers at the expense of small businesses, jobs and the financial well being of the rest of the country, does not color or taint the open discourse of ideas that a law school is suppose to be.

As I know you know, Fashion is a $350 Billion dollar industry in the United States, and only a very small fraction of that out-put comes from NY. As you launch this new, very important endeavor, please remember that as a pioneer in Fashion Law you will be watched and scrutinized.

Please don’t make this about politics and rhetoric, but instead use the platform you have been given to help the US fashion industry continue its incredible growth and dominance.

To proceed otherwise would be truly be a fashion disaster.


Staci Riordan

Chair, Fashion Law Practice Group, Fox Rothschild LLP

Editor, Fashion Law Blog