Design Copying and the Construction of Legality in the Fashion Industry: A Study of Emerging Fashion Designers' Legal Consciousness

Isabelle Dubois

Student thesis: Master thesis


A growing number of socio-legal scholarship focuses the study of law away from legislative texts and legal institutions and toward the experiences and perceptions of "ordinary" people. This approach has inspired the exploration of the intricate relationship between intellectual property law and fashion designs. Since academic research in this area is mostly based on theoretical considerations revolving around statutory laws or cultural analyses in this domain, the empirical nature of this study represents a novel approach to this phenomenon. This study investigates emerging fashion designers and their perceptions and experiences in relation to design copying and intellectual property law. Through empirical research, this study seeks to explore the role of legality within the environment of ubiquitous imitation strategies and the corresponding legal consciousness of emerging fashion designers. Utilizing qualitative interviews and narrative analysis, this analysis suggests that Ewick and Silbey's (1998) three-tiered model of legal consciousness is an appropriate framework to study the legal consciousness of fashion designers. This study affirms the descriptive power of their model since all three types of legal consciousness are displayed by respondents. It further reaffirms the mutually constitutive nature of law and society.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages87