Designing Careers: Fashion Law Project Propels Students
When Mary Demircift ’16 and Remington Maynard ’16 were hand-picked to be research assistants for Loyola’s Fashion Law Project (FLP) Executive Director Staci Riordan ’04, they instantly had a calling card to some of the biggest names in the fashion industry.
Both have made the most of that entrée.
During their time at Loyola, they have helped produce fashion law events with the leaders of some of the world’s most well-known fashion brands, including American Apparel, TOMS Shoes, Lucky Brand and JustFab. They also have worked with such iconic companies as Google, Intel and Microsoft. Along the way, they have cultivated contacts and gleaned an insiders’ perspective on the inner-workings of fashion law.
Demircift is a fourth-year evening student who works during the day; Maynard is a third-year day student who is seeking her J.D. degree full-time. Together they serve as co-chairs of FLP symposia and represent clients in the Fashion Law Clinic. They were drawn to fashion law in part because it encompasses such a wide range of legal issues, including corporate law, employment law and intellectual property law.
“For me, the FLP is the perfect marriage of fashion and intellectual stimulation,” said Demircift. “Not only does the FLP bridge the gap between the business of fashion and the law of fashion, but it also allows creatives and lawyers to collaborate, problem-solve and see the benefit of being a team. I’ve always wanted to be in the fashion industry and to be a lawyer, now I don’t have to pick one over the other — I can do both.”
In the Fashion Law Clinic, both Demircift and Maynard flex a variety of legal muscles to address client issues from business formation to registering copyrights and everything in between. “The clinic is especially great because it pairs students with actual players in the industry, allowing students to gain real-world experience before graduation,” said Maynard.
The pair have parlayed their unique experiences into positions aimed at growing their fashion law careers. Demircift has served as a legal extern at JustFab, the online fashion powerhouse whose general counsel Matt Fojut ’98 is a Loyola alumnus. Maynard interned in legal and business affairs at CMG Worldwide, a boutique firm specialized in managing and monetizing the intellectual property of deceased celebrities. And to Maynard, landing plumb gigs is no surprise.
“Because of the practical training the school provides, Loyola’s students are highly competitive candidates in the legal market. This is crucial in Los Angeles, a very tough market and home to many apparel companies,” said Maynard. “Your degree experience is what you make it. At Loyola, you have the chance to specialize in an area of the law that interests you and create the career path you want.”
The duo also helped plan the upcoming annual Fashion Law Symposium, “Green is the New Black: Sustainability in Fashion,” to be held Friday, April 15, 2016 on Loyola’s downtown L.A. campus.
“Apparel companies not only have to think about making sustainable eco-friendly decisions, but they also must sustain their brand,” said Maynard. “They have to consider what is trendy today as well as tomorrow. In this industry, staying relevant is key.”
Both women relished the opportunity to help produce an event focused on cutting-edge questions: Is 3-D printing a boon for fashion labels or counterfeiting bust? Can a brand go green in its design and material selection while keeping its balance sheet firmly in the black? Does “fast fashion” mean a quick profit?
The way Demircift and Maynard view it, innovation is not an option for fashion brands.
Creating a compelling event with this in mind meant booking guests with a variety of perspectives on sustainability. They reached out to major labels, Federal Trade Commission representatives, watchdog groups and seasoned attorneys – all of whom will weigh in on an array of approaches.
“You can expect to hear some very interesting opinions on how brands sustain their presence in the market and adapt to changing consumer preferences,” said Demircift. “This includes fast fashion and initiatives in corporate social responsibility, as well as how to stay competitive in light of consumers’ response to eco-friendly measures.”