Grayson Styles Innovative Fashion Law Career at American Apparel

Chelsea Grayson
Chelsea Grayson

As the general counsel of American Apparel, alumna Chelsea Grayson ’98 knows a thing or two about surviving in the fashion business.

Ushering the high-profile clothier out of bankruptcy, she is relying on her nearly 20 years of fashion law experience to help the company regain its foothold in the industry. She has embraced the challenge of searching for solutions to long-term sustainability, as she divulged to during a lunchtime question-and-answer session at The Fashion Law Project’s annual symposium, “Green is the New Black: Sustainability in Fashion.”  

“You can’t be a department of ‘no,’” she said, emphasizing the need for creative collaboration. “You learn how to link arms with your business associates and show them you can be productive together.”

Grayson credits her Loyola Law School education with equipping her for success in the fashion business. “Attracted to the art of advocacy and the art of the deal,” she selected Loyola because of its practical offerings and because she says the school trains its graduates to “be a lawyer as opposed to a law student.”  

After graduating, Grayson clerked for Judge Samuel Bufford, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. Initially planning to be a litigator, clerking came as a pleasant surprise, one that would benefit her in her current position. Grayson went on to Jones Day and later became a partner at Loeb & Loeb before finding her way to American Apparel, where she also is chief administrative officer and executive vice president, overseeing the legal, human resources, asset protection and other key departments.

The Fashion Law Symposium is an annual gathering of fashion designers, executives, lawyers and law students to discuss emerging issues in the industry.

The Fashion Law Project’s broader curriculum includes the Fashion Law Clinic, in which law students help fashion entrepreneurs with the legal elements of launching a brand, as well as the Fashion Law Summer Intensive (FLSI), an upcoming weeklong immersion program that fuses classes and case studies.

The FLSI offers two pods: one providing an intense foundation in the legal elements of growing and maintaining a fashion brand, and a second which this year will be exploring  the law behind viral marketing for fashion. The 2016 session of the FLSI will be held July 28-August 5 on the LLS campus.. Applications are now being accepted at