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How this fashion lawyer created her own niche

Chloe Taylor has combined her passion for fashion into a legal practice area that allows her to spread her wings across multiple fields. Being proactive has been the key to her success, she says.

user iconMalavika Santhebennur 27 November 2023 Big Law
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In a recent episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, the Hall & Wilcox lawyer explained that she works across the litigation, commercial, and property teams. Her knowledge across these areas allowed her to establish a fashion and beauty practice and work in fashion law, which is an industry specialty, she said.

Players in the fashion industry could face myriad legal matters spanning intellectual property, employment issues, and property and leasing issues.

The Australian fashion and beauty sector has a market size of over $20 billion, almost 50,000 businesses and employs over 100,000 personnel.


Hall & Wilcox has a team, Ms Taylor outlined, that assists clients across many areas of the law, including competition and consumer law, intellectual property, and litigation and dispute resolution. However, fashion law is in its infancy in Australia compared to the US and parts of Europe, which are home to multinational fashion brands and businesses.

As such, she said she had to be proactive to find success in a niche area of the law.

“It’s something I wasn’t really aware of as a lawyer,” she said.

“I thought that I would just keep getting the work from the partners. Whatever hit my desk, I’d just do that, and then I’d keep working towards being promoted. But if you want to specialise in an area, you need to be proactive and continually upskill.”

Ms Taylor said she stumbled upon an online fashion boot camp facilitated in New York, which was a short course in fashion law.

“Fashion law is a really big thing overseas,” she said.

“There are fashion lawyers in America and Milan where all the powerhouse companies are. Doing that course exposed me and opened my eyes up to something that we don’t really have in Australia. We have fashion lawyers, of course. They’re in-house lawyers … but there [are] no real private practice firms that are offering a fashion law service.”

In her role at Hall & Wilcox, Ms Taylor assists clients with a broad range of issues involving dispute resolution, including drafting supplier agreements or negotiating or settling terms of a brand ambassador agreement.

“We have one client at the moment who is an e-commerce womenswear brand. They’re massive, they’re killing it overseas,” she said.

“One day [recently], three things blew up. One of them was we needed to file all these documents or get instructions to a US firm [that’s] dealing with a trademark dispute that we have overseas. We then had some accusations from a small brand that our client had copied their designs. We had to negotiate settlement terms and go back and forth with them to try and resolve that dispute.

“Then we were sending out cease and desist letters to scammers, who had set up copycat email addresses of our client and were going and contacting them all via email and also on their social media. That was all over a span of one week.”

The popularity of social media and influencers has seen Ms Taylor drawing up influencer contracts, which means she constantly has to keep abreast of the latest trends.

For example, TikTok exposed her to a “different world of issues”, she said.

“There’s a current designer who’s under fire for using TikTok to report brands [and] influencers, or people using the platform that were talking about her brand that were comparing dupes, which are copies of her clothing designs,” she said.

“Now, apparently, TikTok’s cancelled this brand because she was reporting these individuals for talking about dupes in their TikTok, which is just pretty crazy.”

Part of Ms Taylor’s role is to advise clients on how to tackle ongoing customer complaints, manage fallout on social media, and handle defamation cases.

“That’s something that is so nuanced, so new,” she said.

“I never thought I’d be advising about TikTok, how that affects our brands and clients.”

When asked how other lawyers could practice in a niche area of the law, Ms Taylor encouraged them to approach their firm’s partners about branching out into their areas of interest.

Alongside this, she pushed lawyers to attend industry-focused networking events to connect with members of that industry and grow their knowledge in their area of specialty.

“A lot of our clients I just meet from going to different fashion-related events,” she said.

“I meet them sometimes at runway shows, not just because I’m out there handing out business cards, but because it comes back to passion. We have that same drive and focus on that specialised industry. I think we just get talking and realise that I might be able to help.”

To listen to the full podcast featuring Chloe Taylor, click here:

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