One of the questions I am asked about Brexit is how it will affect lawyers. That’s a hard one to call. There seems to be a growing disconnect between the rise of nostalgia nationalism and the demands of businesses seeking opportunities in a global marketplace. Currently our politicians are closing borders in response to a what the FT described as a… “yearning to restore their countries to national greatness” whilst platforms like Facebook and Google are helping local businesses to connect with people and grow their businesses around the world at an astonishing rate.
Businesses with global reach are constantly looking for new ways to drive business and one way has been by offering their customers access to the exclusive world of luxury through brand collaborations. Puma’s recent collaboration with Rihanna reportedly increased sales by over 7% in 2016 and product sold out in minutes. For H & M has fashion collaborations have been an annual event since 2004, starting with Karl Lagerfeld and more recently Stella McCartney and Kenzo.
One of our recent projects has involved representing the menswear and womenswear brand founder JW Anderson, in his recently announced collaboration with Uniqlo. Collaborations like this one are not limited by national boundaries or local politics. As Jonathan Anderson put it “working with Uniqlo is probably the most incredible template of democracy in fashion, and it’s nice that my design can be accessible to anyone, on all different levels”.
Collaboration projects are also interesting from a legal perspective since a good contract will allow the brand to realise its commercial objectives and at the same time protect the designer’s reputation and the integrity of his designs. There also needs to be a good way to get out of a relationship that’s turning sour – as Ivana Trump discovered recently when the US retail chain abruptly terminated her contract.
If you are thinking of a collaboration you need to have a good understanding of both the legalities and the commercial aspects as well: where are products are going to be sold, who they’re selling to and what sort of price points they will be sold at. Its important that to have control over how your name and image is being used – you don’t want them to dumb you down, nor do you find that you want to impose conditions that’ll stop them marketing you (and usually you want them to do that, anyway). We can help with all those things. We bring intelligence and information to the table and hope to help you create an empowered collaboration that works for you as well as your collaborators.