Fashion Law 101 | Blogging from the Front Row While Ethically Working with Brands

Boutique owners, fashionistas, journalists and celebrities claimed front row seats when New York Fashion Week began on February 9th. Also claiming a coveted spot at the debut of the Fall 2012 collections—either in person or via the internet—were hundreds of fashion bloggers! In this first of a 4-part series about New York Fashion Week, we will look at the emerging power brokers in fashion: the bloggers!

BLOGGER INFLUENCE
While most fashion bloggers are only expressing their opinions about a fashion line, look or trend, that opinion can sway others. When bloggers heap praise upon a certain designer, it encourages readers to add that designer’s dress or pair of shoes to their closet. Because of this influence, brands are now establishing relationships with bloggers similar to those already in place with A-list celebrities, stylists, and editors.

To encourage bloggers to attend a show or write a blog entry, incentives may be offered to the blogger. Since the receipt of a designer scarf or a free front row ticket to a private trunk show may seduce the blogger, opinions posted in the blog entry may be skewed. However, the reader may think that the blogger’s viewpoint is unbiased and a trusted source of information.

ETHICAL BLOGGING PRACTICES
As a result, fashion law appears in the form of federal oversight to protect the reader or consumer of the runway styles. Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Advertising Practices requires bloggers to disclose a material connection between an advertiser and an endorser when it is not apparent to readers that an endorsement exists.

So, how can the fashion blogger avoid the long arm of the law? If the blogger receives any tangible benefit for a “like” or a link, then the blogger should say so. Bloggers can disclose this information within their post, and/or by creating a disclosure policy for their site (view KP Fusion’s policy here for an example). If you need assistance creating one, visit DisclosurePolicy.org. When working with brands, always protect the integrity of your blog!

Stay tuned to learn about music licensing in part two of the New York Fashion Week series.

Attorney Pamela Williams Kelly, Esq.


Legal Disclaimer: Fashion Law 101 is not intended to serve as legal or other advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
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