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Student Organizations Make a Day of Fashion a Big Success

November 19, 2013

Thomas Jefferson School of Law, the Entertainment Law Society and the Intellectual Property Law Association transformed TJSL’s grand marble staircase into a catwalk on Friday, November 15 for the “From the Catwalk to the Courthouse: Business, Law and the Fashion Industry” conference.

Professor K.J. Greene produced and hosted the conference in collaboration with Entertainment Law Society President, Director Chanel DiBlasi (2L), and Co-Director Michelle Ribaudo (2L). True Religion Apparel, Inc. sponsored the event.

“This conference was generously sponsored by True Religion thanks to Deborah Greaves,” said Professor K.J. Greene. “Deborah and the other panelists were uniformly outstanding. Allison Andrews from San Diego Fashion Week highlighted that San Diego has an impressive fashion industry. By being the only law school to have twice hosted a fashion law conference in Southern California, TJSL has the opportunity to brand itself as the school for fashion law on the West Coast. Our reputation as a hotbed of IP law arises in large portion from conferences like this that showcase our outstanding IP faculty and our IP Fellows such as Chanel DiBlasi and Michelle Ribaudo, who any law firm or in-house corporate legal department would be lucky to land.”

It took hours of hair and makeup and a lineup of support from local boutiques and designers to put on the spectacular runway show. “My team was absolutely amazing and I am still blown away by their work and commitment to make the show the best it could be,” said Ribaudo. “The show was an absolute success because of all of the support, dedication, and commitment from everyone involved. I am still beaming about how well it turned out.”

Before the fashion show distinguished panelists traded industry information. Panelists included leading fashion industry experts: the Secretary and General Counsel for True Religion Apparel, Inc, Deborah Greaves, Knobbe Martens Partner Jeffery Van Hoosear, San Diego Fashion Week Founder Allison Andrews and Owner and CEO of Brooke Journey, Inc. Tatiana Daniels.

“Looking at the panel from an industry perspective, said Van Hoosear, it had an outside attorney (myself), an in-house counsel (Deborah Greaves), a business industry expert (Alison Andrews) and a representative of the industry itself (Tatiana Daniels). While each of us have different expertise, experience, and perspective, I thought that the overall package made the event well-rounded and complete. I found the questions interesting, pertinent, and showed that the audience was interested in the topics presented.”

Panelists gave insights and explored the business and legal issues arising from fashion creation as it pertains to the theft and unauthorized copying of fashion designs due to the law’s failure to adequately protect fashionable works.

“I hope attendees gained a better understanding of the differences between their trademark (the source identifier) rights and their copyright (the creative elements) rights,” said DiBlasi.  “Understanding the “vocabulary” is key to knowing what protection they need and how best to get it.”

Fashion Week Founder Allison Andrews works with designers and manufactures on a daily basis and shared insights on how IP and rights affects the design process and manufacturing from a business owners point of view. “I hope students, faculty and staff walked away with a better understanding of the myths about design change and ownership,” she said. “The panel that was brought together was a great mix of legal and fashion industry insight. I appreciated the range of expertise and opinions. That made for a great panel.”

“This event was the perfect blend of education and fun,” said DiBlasi. “The panelists were incredible! They were able to explain the complexities and experiences of Fashion Law, to individuals who attended the event not knowing anything about the subject. The energy of the panel and the reception was invigorating. Co-Director Michelle Ribaudo and I worked very hard on this event, and it filled my heart to see everyone enjoying themselves and pleased with the information that they received. We could not have done it without Produced and Host Professor Greene, the TJSL event family, our spectacular panelists, all of our volunteers (and there were a lot), the designers, and our brave models.”

Professor Greene greatly enjoys working with students from the Entertainment Law Society to host events, and says that working with TJSL students, such as ELS President Chanel DiBlasi to put together a conference is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.  “The student-faculty collaborative partnership is, in my view, a unique feature of TJSL. Our job as faculty is to support their aspirations—our students are our investments. Without the efforts of Chanel and her team, I could not pull this off,” he said.