I am a law school professor. But for over 10 years, I’ve kept a file on the clothing/textile industry in my office and the latest Vogue hidden in my briefcase – not exactly standard reading in a profession dominated by academic tweeds and legal pinstripes. Despite my interest in creativity beyond the usual margins of intellectual property protection, fashion seemed a little too cutting-edge for the ivory tower. Now, with a multimillion dollar counterfeits crisis and the new challenge of fast fashion, it’s time to come out of the closet!
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Professional Bio (a.k.a. the formal version): Professor Susan Scafidi serves as academic director of the Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit based at Fordham Law School and the world's first center dedicated to legal issues involving the fashion industry. She is also the first professor ever to offer a course in Fashion Law and is internationally recognized for her expertise and her leadership in establishing the field. She has testified regarding the proposed extension of U.S. legal protection to fashion designs and continues to work actively with members of Congress and the fashion industry on the proposed Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (formerly the Design Piracy Prohibition Act) and other issues. Prior to establishing the Fashion Law Institute with the assistance of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its president, Diane von Furstenberg, Professor Scafidi was a tenured member of both the law and history faculties at SMU and also taught at a number of other law schools, including Yale and Georgetown. After attending Duke University and the Yale Law School, she pursued graduate study in legal history at Berkeley and the University of Chicago and clerked for Judge Morris S. Arnold of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Professor Scafidi is the author of the book Who Owns Culture? Appropriation and Authenticity in American Law, as well as numerous articles in the areas of intellectual property, cultural property, and of course fashion law. She also maintains a website on fashion law, Counterfeit Chic, which has been recognized as one of the ABA's top 100 legal blogs.