The article 'Regulatory Landscape of Fashion in India' explores the multifaceted framework that influences fashion-related activities within the country.

The article 'Regulatory Landscape of Fashion in India' explores the multifaceted framework that influences fashion-related activities within the country.

Fashion Trends in Contemporary India

Presenting oneself using clothing is an artistic work, as fashion serves as a medium for individual appearance. As a response to societal trends, the arena of fashion law has arisen to defend the interests of fashion designers, wholesalers, photographers, media agencies, and retailers. This legal domain includes varied responsibilities, including the ending of business entities, brand growth advertising, Intellectual Property monetization, licensing, merchandising, and much more. The increasing influence of fashion in India has taken the consideration of the legal community, as it started a position in the country.

Coco Chanel defined fashion as:

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

Fashion law is commonly characterized as a mixture of diverse legal domains, encircling contract law, intellectual property law, consumer protection law, corporate law, real estate law, tax law, business law and employment law. Mentioned otherwise as Apparel Law, its scope spreads beyond the formation of a garment to include the protection of its brand throughout its lifespan. In talking about legal concerns related to the fashion, apparel, luxury, jewellery sectors etc., fashion lawyers offer supervision on safety, durability, and consumer protection. Their facilities include counselling on legal matters, drafting and negotiating the racks, and litigation concerning trademark, copyright and other IPR matters.

Advent of Fashion Laws in India

Fashion law in India ascended as a comeback to the necessity for protecting traditional textile designs and crafts, which have been integral to Indian culture. The decline in the number of handloom weavers due to a shift in demand towards Western clothing, augmented use of synthetic materials, and a lack of funds and accomplished personnel. India's status as a major manufacturer of cotton, jute, and silk, coupled with the important contribution of the fashion segment to the economy and employment group, led to the acknowledgement of legal protection for the textile industry. Hence, fashion law began to expand in India, though it is still in the process of developing in the country.

Laws Related to Fashion

Fashion is an essential part of our modern society. Since the industry includes a comprehensive range of occupations, the fashion law is overseen by simple laws to safeguard the designers, the photographers, the retailers, the wholesalers, and even the consumers.

Fashion and IPR - Intellectual property rights defend human intellectual creations, encircling works like painting and literary creations. In the inventive realm of the fashion industry, which includes designing and forming unique clothes, and accessories, IPR becomes very crucial. In India, the Copyright Act of 1957, the Designs Act of 2000, and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act oversee the intellectual property rights that influence the clothing and design sector.

Design and Fashion Industry - The Design Act, 2000 is an important protection for designs in India, shapes, designs, colours, or exclusive combinations that differentiate garments. It defines non-functional, visually alluring aspects of a product, like shapes and decorations. The Act also acknowledges piracy, described under Section 22(4). But unregistered designs are not devoid of asking for damages.

Labour Laws and Fashion - The fashion industry which is a major job generator, encounter employment regulation issues, mainly in unregulated subsidiaries which subsequently lead to job insecurity. Additionally, the textile sector has been related to labour. To protect various industry employees including the fashion industry numerous legislations were brought including the Industrial Dispute Act, of 1947, the Factories Act, of 1948 and the Payment of Wages Act which set basic standards for health and safety. Recent government initiatives combine these acts into three codes:

1. The Indian Industrial Relations Code 2020: Oversees worker relationships, layoffs, reduction, & trial dispute resolution.

2. The Indian Code of Social Security 2020: It addresses funds, the yee insurance, gratuity, the unity benefits, etc.

3. The Indian Code of Wages for 2019: The minimum wages, bonuses, and the payment of wages.

Advertising Laws and Fashion - Advertisements act as vital channels for businesses to interconnect data to consumers, be it in digital form or printed form. Within India, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), a self-regulatory body, supervises advertising. The Prevention of Misleading Advertising and The ASCI's Code was mainly introduced to levy penalties on influencers who were involved in deceptive advertisements.

Foreign Trade and Fashion - The 1991’s flow in globalization and India's liberalization, has brought a substantial increase in foreign trade. The textile industry nowadays accounts for about 8-9% of India's total merchandise exports. T. Rajkumar, the Chairman of the Confederation of the Indian Textile Industry, forestalls that new policies will help in transformative variations in India, positively inducing trade.

Consumer Protection and Fashion - Consumers exercise considerable influence in today's business. The Indian clothing market is expected to reach Rs 25 trillion by the year 2030, which will escalate the demand for clothes, powered by quickly changing trends and the beginning of fast fashion, is notable. To safeguard consumers from various unfair practices, the government passed the Consumer Protection Act, of 2019. Moreover, the outline of the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, in India helps to safeguard consumers against showy sales and unfair trade practices supported by various online platforms.

Environmental Law and Fashion - The impact of fashion industries on the environment is notorious, but increasing consumer consciousness of climate change has brought a shift to sustainable fashion products. Brands are progressively accepting environmentally conscious practices. Laws like the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and the Indian Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 set industry-specific values for the fashion sector.

Fashion Federations in India

The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), a non-profit organization, is devoted to uplifting the fashion business in India. With around 400 members, which include prominent designers like Ms Anamika Khanna, Mr Raghavendra Rathore, and Mr. Rohit Bal, FDCI boosts its members to present their talent worldwide. The council has its cooperation with the Ministry of Textile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and with other countries and establishments.

Case Law

Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Atul Jaggi [CS(OS) 1419/2009]

The primary issue in the instant case is all about the usage of the trademark. The Delhi High Court opined that designers possess the ability to protect not only logos/ brand names but also the various distinct product features. Therefore, the court ordered an injunction against the defendant, prohibiting him from usage of the Louis Vuitton symbol.


In the past few years, the design industry has experienced noteworthy growth, driven by progressions and successful application of legal frameworks. However, a prominent trend specifies that creators often oversee defending their intellectual property through legal ways. This is apparent in the Ritika Apparels case, where lack of appropriate protection resulted in zero penalties for the respondents. Furthermore, the case of Crocs Inc. USA vs. Aqualite India Limited highlighted that the design alone cannot create a trademark.

Fashion, often professed as an excessive and unnecessary pursuit, is a full domain that encompasses from clothing to accessories. To stand mindful in the public about this growing area, it is important to eloquent the foundational laws that establish Fashion Law. These include Intellectual Property, Business finance, commercial laws, international trading, and various other laws. Spreading knowledge about these legal aspects is crucial to highlight the meaning of Fashion Law in shielding and regulating the different features of the fashion industry.


[1] An Insight on Fashion Laws in India, Available Here

[2] Fashion Laws in India, Available Here

[3] An overview of fashion laws in India, Available Here

[4] Fashion Laws and Its Scope in India, Available Here

[5] Overview of Fashion Laws in India, Available Here

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Anjali is a passionate graduate from Ramaiah College of Law, Bengaluru, seeking opportunities to learn and grow in the field of law.

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