Fashion Law

Editor’s Note: Africa Fashion Law™ on Ladybrille®: The Introduction

Almost five years ago when I founded Ladybrille®, the focus was on the business of fashion, fashion law and creating awareness about Africa’s contemporary fashion industry through African/African-Inspired fashion events and trends. The latter seemed to resonate most with many and ultimately Ladybrille® morphed into a brand that focused more on creating awareness about African fashion.

Over the years, there is both anecdotal and statistical evidence that suggest awareness has been sufficiently raised, although there is more work to be done. Now, in behalf of Ladybrille, I am ready to spearhead a more holistic image about African fashion to the world. An image I feel is necessary if Africa’s fashion industry and its professionals are to be taken seriously so they can have a meaningful opportunity in the world’s fashion boardrooms where important fashion deals are brokered. The holistic image necessarily takes me towards trailblazing the Africa Fashion Law™ path on Ladybrille®.

Let me be very clear. We can talk fashion trends, colors, silhouettes, textiles, fabrics, fashion shows etc. But, at the end of the day, fashion follows money, not talk. The African fashion industry must make money to sustain its very creative professionals who paint the world fashionably haute. For that to happen i.e. go beyond the hype and get into the real meat and potatoes of African fashion, there must be a true and real assessment about the business of fashion which necessarily includes the intersection of fashion and the law.

Happy New Month of February 2012. This month, in behalf of Ladybrille®, I introduce Africa Fashion Law™ to you all!

Why Africa Fashion Law™? Why now? The timing is finally ripe for such re-introduction and push. The Western fashion industry is undergoing significant changes, brought on by the digital age, and brokering important deals in the process to help it thrive. Africa’s fashion industry cannot afford to lag behind.

In addition, there is a case to be made for African professionals to begin knowing, discussing and understand the basics on fashion law. Specific to Africa, last year, we saw one of the biggest names in African fashion, Bumni Olaye, part ways with her long time business partner, Francis Udom. The Bunmi Koko brand seemed aimed at attaining fashion iconic status as an African owned brand. What happened? Africa Fashion Law™ on Ladybrille® takes on such termination of legal relationships including partnership agreements and other relevant business disputes in the news relating to Africa’s fashion professionals.

Also in 2011, Africa’s fashion industry got another fashion law jolt when the reputable Jan Malan, fashion show producer, sued the equally reputable Arise Fashion Magazine for breach of contract. Malan claimed fees of over $300,000 were owed to him for his production work for Arise Magazine at the 2010 New York Fashion Week show. Needless to say, African fashion meets contract law. What are the basics of a Fashion Producer Agreement? What constitutes a breach of contract within the fashion law context?

Finally, in 2011, the industry received yet another fashion lawsuit present when Nigeria Fashion Week and the Stylehouse produced MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week was sued for Trademark infringement. What exactly is Trademark law? How is that relevant to the African fashion industry? What about the basic intellectual property protection of African fashion businesses that should be in place?

Independent of these arguably big lawsuits, there have been some positive growth in the industry that requires a careful examination on some of the business of fashion intertwined with law. For example, we now see an increased opening of flagship stores by big name African designers across Africa, an increase in e-commerce/African fashion online brick and mortars in the West by fashion professionals of African heritage, an increase in fashion event production, an increase in public relations agencies, fashion films, and a few African designers stocking their merchandise in stores locally here in the USA. While positive, some of the negatives are that many of these persons have no clue what they are doing, have never done it before and some do take the fashion professionals that do business with them on a very lousy ride.

All of these raise an absolute need for the basic understanding and discussions of the business of fashion and the fashion law/legal issues that go hand in hand with them.

The tone here is direct, straight to the point and does call out “the nonsense,” where it is detected or perceived. While fashion is creative, law is direct and straight to the point and it does not take the back seat just because it intersects with fashion. On the contrary.

Needless to say, I will be authoring the Africa Fashion Law™ column on Ladybrille® and I look forward to sharing, exchanging ideas with you all, widening the scope of African fashion and separating those who are about the business of fashion from those who are simply on board for the ride.

Finally, expect to continue to see our main staples on Ladybrille: Ladybrille Woman, Ladybrille Man, Ladybrille Fashion Business With, Ladybrille’s 15 Questions With, Fashion Shows, Designers, Models. Also expect 80% of our content to be about fashion and the other 20% is divided between music and film.

I hope you all are ready for what promises to be an intriguing ride. Happy New Month!

Welcome to Africa Fashion Law™ on Ladybrille®.

Ms. Uduak Oduok is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ladybrille® Magazine. An industry insider with almost two decades of hands on extensive experience in the fashion and entertainment industry, she is also a trial attorney and has counseled a range of clients from musicians, models, actors and actresses to designers on numerous areas of the law including contracts, business law, fashion and entertainment law, copyright, trademark i.e. intellectual property law. She can be reached at ([email protected]) to share/pitch your Africa Fashion Law™ related stories with her. All other inquiries, please visit the for appropriate contact email.

Ms. Uduak

Ms. Uduak is best known as an advocate who uses the tools of media and the law to help creatives and businesses clearly articulate their true brand identities, and communicate it to the world through their products and services, to maximize profits. She is a lawyer, speaker, author, journalist, and recognized thought leader, and trailblazer for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States.  She is also the founder and publisher of Ladybrille® Magazine, and an Attorney and Partner at Ebitu Law Group, P.C, where her practice focuses on Fashion, Business, & Entertainment Law and Trials. For more information about her, visit

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