Home Insights Fashion law in Australia: Navigating the intersection of creativity and regulation

Fashion law in Australia: Navigating the intersection of creativity and regulation

Read time
2  minute read
Date published
26 March 2024

The Griffith Hack team comprising Derek Baigent, Shannon Fati, Jenny Wyndham-Wheeler and Ellen Baker authored the Australian chapter of The Global Legal Post’s second edition Law Over Borders Fashion Law Guide. Here’s a summary of their chapter.

In the dynamic world of fashion, the intersection of creativity and law is becoming increasingly prominent. As the industry evolves, legal considerations play a pivotal role in protecting designers, brands and consumers alike. Australia, with its burgeoning fashion scene, is no exception to this trend. From intellectual property rights to sustainability concerns, the legal landscape surrounding fashion in Australia is multi-faceted.

Intellectual property protection

One of the foremost concerns for fashion designers and brands in Australia is the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights. Trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, domain names, patents and designs serve as crucial assets in safeguarding the unique creations of designers and preventing unauthorised use by competitors. With the rise of e-commerce and global marketplaces, the need for robust IP protection has never been greater.

In Australia, trademark registration offers legal protection for brand names, logos and symbols associated with fashion labels. By securing trademarks, designers can establish brand identity and prevent others from capitalising on their reputation.

There are however alternatives and additions to complement trademark registration including design, copyright, patents and geographical indications (GIs).

Compliance and regulatory framework

Beyond intellectual property, contractual arrangements are useful in the manufacturing, distribution and advertising of fashion products. These can include non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for manufacturing, agency agreements for distribution and ensuring service agreements for photoshoots and adhering to advertising standards and practice.

Moreover, environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are increasingly shaping the regulatory landscape of the fashion industry despite there being no legal definition of what kind of products or practices qualify as ‘sustainable’.  

In Australia, initiatives promoting ethical sourcing, waste reduction and fair labour practices are gaining traction with brands themselves adopting responsible business models and transparent supply chains.

The intersection of fashion and law in Australia presents both challenges and opportunities for designers, brands, and consumers. Intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance, and sustainability initiatives are among the key considerations shaping the legal landscape of the Australian fashion industry.

About the Guide

The second edition of Global Legal Post’s Law Over Borders Fashion Law Guide provides answers and insight into the law around the business of fashion in 20 jurisdictions across the world, with guidance on areas such as the effective legal protection of brands, the rules around e-commerce and marketing and how to navigate sustainability guidelines.

To read the Australian chapter in its entirety, download the pdf

Access the full guide here: https://www.globallegalpost.com/lawoverborders/fashion-law-1929833902