Australian Law Butts Out Branding

This is not altogether related to the fashion industry but it’s pretty darned interesting!  And, let’s face it, here at CanadaFashionLaw, we can tie almost everything back to fashion!!!! 
Australia recently enacted probably the toughest law against the tobacco industry (commonly being referred to as the ‘plain packaging law’), which was recently endorsed by Australia’s highest court. 
Under this law, tobacco companies can only display the warning image depicting the perils of smoking on the tobacco packaging.  We’ve become accustomed to these images on tobacco packaging in Canada (pictures of eroded and disease gums and haunting images of cancer-eroded lungs).  What sets Australia’s new law apart is that these types of images are the only images allowed to be displayed on the packaging.  No trade-marks.  No logos.  No branding.  Just images of imminent death and decay.  That’s pretty harsh.  It definitely sends a message. 
Not surprisingly, tobacco companies in Australia were none too pleased about this and called into question whether the law was actually legal given that it devalued intellectual property rights.  Australia’s judiciary chose health policy considerations over branding rights.  The law will come into effect in December.  This will prove to be an expensive re-packaging project for tobacco companies.
International anti-smoking organizations are heralding this new law as progressive and necessary.  In fact, anti-tobacco lobbying groups in Canada are looking to amend Canadian legislation to mirror Australia’s tough stance.
So let’s look at the bigger picture here.  Oftentimes when laws are created, there is an underlying purpose – a policy.  In some way, the government is trying to achieve a higher purpose.  The legislation is simply the vehicle to this purpose.  Take the Trade-marks Act.  The overriding policy consideration is that the government wants to protect the consumer from confusion in the marketplace.  Thus, there are checks and balances in the Trade-marks Act that protect the consumer above and beyond the brand owner.  In the instance of Australia’s new law, there was a greater concern over public health than brand owners’ rights.  Where will the line be drawn?  Why is the tobacco industry targeted?  Will we see these types of developments happen in other industries?  The alcohol industry?  Or the food industry?  What about the fashion industry?  What if there was an increasing concern over animal rights whereby leather products became the target of tougher legislation that trumped intellectual property rights. 
We’ll keep you posted on developments to see if the Canadian lobbying groups get any traction.

French Connection Reaches out to Musicians

We all know that fashion and music are inextricably linked.  CanadaFashionLaw recently came across an interesting program offered by French Connection that helps Canadian musicians get noticed.  It’s refreshing when a large well-known brand lends its platform to burgeoning artists. 

The Artist of the Month program features one Canadian artist per month in the tracks played in all stores across Canada.  The album or single is featured at the cashier and consumers are able to obtain a free single.  Occasionally, French Connection will host special events whereby the artists play live.  However, this type of exposure is more limited to special events (i.e. Toronto hosting the Canadian Music Week).

It would be nice to see other large retailers reach out to Canada’s burgeoning artistic community. 

Designers: Get Your Hustle On!

Here at CanadaFashionLaw, we geek out on branding law.  But you know what really gets our mojo going (other than Ryan Reynolds and Tyrese)?  Helping emerging designers get exposure!  Now that summer is coming to a close (sad face), it’s time to get our hustle on again!  Ever eager to help Canadian designers put themselves on the fashion map, CanadaFashionLaw has put together a quick little guide to some opportunities geared towards helping designers at different levels get exposure.

Toronto Fashion Week

North America’s second biggest fashion show is back with some panache as IMG gets its well-connected hands on it.  (Click here to read up on why Toronto Fashion Week is getting a mani-pedi-botox).  Running from October 22 to 26, 2012 at the David Pecaut Square, Canada’s fashion darlings can share the spotlight with the likes of Joe Fresh, Pink Tartan, Lucian Matis, Rudsak, Vawk, etc.  Designer submissions are now being accepted.  More information can be requested from  

Fashion's Night Out

Debuting in Canada for the first time, Toronto’s retail stores will be open late into the night on September 6, 2012 as part of renowned international fashion event, Fashion's Night Out.  (Click here and here to get a better understanding of Fashion's Night Out).  As always, the Toronto Fashion Incubator is lending a hand to help more junior designers get a piece of the action by opening up their doors to host an accessories and apparel shopping soiree as part of Fashion's Night Out.  If you’re interested in participating, you better drop a line as soon as possible to

Katwalk at Cube Nightclub

Looking to shake up your Tuesday?  Every Tuesday night during the summer, Toronto’s Cube nightclub hosts a fashion event debuting the 2012 Fall/Winter collection of a number of retailers.  Examples include French Connection and Dear Frankie.

Toronto Fashion Incubator’s Press & Buyers Breakfast

Toronto Fashion Incubator continues to impress us at CanadaFashionLaw.  On October 2, 2012, it hosts its annual trade show geared towards connecting Canada’s emerging designers with the press and buyers.  This event is a great opportunity for new designers to get in front of key decision makers on a one to one basis.  If you’re interested in getting more information, contact TFI directly at

Fashion Thursdays at Locus 144

Nestled in the heart of Toronto’s Liberty Village is Locus 144, a fantastic lounge that caters to those that have a passion for hip hop and fashion.  (A perfect combination!)  Locus 144 hosts fashion events on Thursdays that are geared to helping designers get their feet wet by hosting their own runway show.  Well-versed in hosting a myriad of events, Locus 144’s amicable management team are eager to assist upcoming designers get exposure in Toronto.  If you’re looking for information on hosting an event, show or photo shoot at Locus 144, drop a line to

If you’re going to any of these events, there’s a pretty good chance we may bump into each other!  Drop us a line if you are!

Fashionistas, do you have your ear to the ground on other events happening in Canada that will help designers get exposure?  Let us know!  CanadaFashionLaw loves to hear from you! 

Canada Gets Its Shop On!

A few weeks ago, CanadaFashionLaw broke the news that shopping event extraordinaire Fashion's Night Out was launching in Canada.  Almost instantly, the Toronto fashion community got very excited!  (Ya, that's right: Toronto Life cited CanadaFashionLaw as the source for the breaking news!  If only there was a "brush your shoulder off" emoticon!).

It looks like it's not only Toronto that's going to get its "shop on' on September 6, 2012.  Fashion's Night Out will be occurring throughout Canada in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.  Happily, it's not just confined to Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, as some may presume.  Smaller cities in Canada are also getting a piece of the after-hours shopping pie, such as Surrey, Chatham and Cookstown. 

If you want to get more information on which stores and malls are participating in Fashion's Night Out, hit up  For the more Toronto-centric crowd, check out

Happy shopping, y'all!

Sound Marks Just a Whisper in Canada

CanadaFashionLaw just wanted to give you a head's up that Canada has its first registered sound mark! 

It's been a long road for Metro Goldwyn Meyer (click here to get the scoop) but they finally have protection of their roaring lion sound.  Since the Canadian Trade-marks Office changed its practice to accept sound as a trade-mark, sound trade-mark applications have been slow to trickle in. 

To date, only a few brand owners are looking to expand the brand protection pie: Mars Canada, Red Robin International, Toys 'R' Us, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Intel Corporation, Cisco Technology and Steam Whistle Brewing.  There are no signs of fashion designers or retailers taking the plunge.  Fashionistas, have any suggestions? 

Toronto Fashion Week Gets A Little Botox

The twitter-verse was set ablaze this week by the surprising news that Toronto Fashion Week has been sold. This is an interesting development for North America’s second largest fashion week (following New York) and goes beyond a mere change in sponsorship.  Mastercard will continue as the title sponsor for the upcoming shows scheduled in October 2012.

Until recently, Toronto’s Fashion Week has been run by the Fashion Design Council of Canada, with Robin Kay at the helm.  Under the FDCC’s guidance, Toronto’s Fashion Week has fared well with attendance rising to 40,000 over a 5 day period.  Now with IMG in the driver’s seat, it’s a safe bet that Toronto Fashion Week’s bi-annual events’ exposure will increase significantly.

Simply put, as a global conglomerate IMG is an international leader in the sports, fashion and media industries.  Divided into a number of subdivisions, IMG specializes in licensing, generating media content and programming, running events, talent representation and brand identities.  Of course, IMG’s Fashion division is of particular to interest to CanadaFashionLaw.  Under this umbrella, IMG owns and operates a number of well-reputed fashion events around the world (think New York, Milan, Berlin, Tokyo, London, Miami, Russia, etc.), along with representing a number of models, photographers, stylists and fashion designers.  This degree of specialization, coupled with IMG’s hyper-connectedness to the media is a good sign that Toronto’s Fashion Week is moving in the right direction to be a serious platform for designers on the international scene.

Never one to miss a Toronto fashion event, CanadaFashionLaw is looking forward to getting her industry pass for the new and improved Toronto Fashion Week.  Hope to see you there on October 22 to October 26, 2012!