Will Fashion Design Schools Address Labor Laws?

Fashion design schools tend to focus on the education of actually creating fashion, but many are starting to focus in on the core responsibilities of the industry.

As these schools begin to consider producing specialty degrees in fashion design manufacturing, distribution, and licensing, will they also need to focus on pressing legal and political issues?

This may soon be an issue to cover in elite fashion design schools across the nation, if California is any indication. As of a recent decision signed into law by the governor, California businesses will be required to report through public disclosures exactly what they are doing to patrol and eliminate down-line vendors and up-line suppliers who are party to forced labor and human trafficking.

It is certainly a step in the right direction for advocates of laws that impose business responsibilities in these sorts of issues, but fashion design companies might see it as undue stress. Under the new law, a business has to disclose on their website or elsewhere, how they are complying with the new regulations through their own supply chains.

However, elite fashion design companies are already doing this and industry representatives say it’s a moral thing that the fashion industry has been very aware of for a long time. Fashion design schools that teach specialty course in manufacturing and distributions should be adding a legal module to their curriculum if one is not already in place. Now that this is state law, other states are responding by creating advisory committees on the topic.

The new law is still being finalized in California, but so far fashion design schools should be ready to talk about the new requirements that require businesses to indicate how they verify the absence of slavery and trafficking in their supply lines, how they conduct regular audits after the initial verification, and more.