In a special episode of The Geek in Review podcast, we wanted to play a recent episode of the Future Ready Business (FRB) Podcast. FRB is a podcast that Greg Lambert produces and is hosted by Jackson Walker attorneys Art Cavazos and Erin Camp and is focused on how new ideas, regulations, laws, and overall societal changes affect the way businesses operate.
In this episode, Art Cavazos and Erin Camp host Courtney White and William Nilson, attorneys from Jackson Walker’s Houston and Austin offices, and discuss the future of the fashion industry. The conversation touches on how the intersection of art and business has evolved, with topics such as sustainability, diversity, and social media influencers’ impact on the industry. The group also discusses the growing relationship between technology and fashion, including the role of artificial intelligence in streamlining production and enabling customization. Social media’s role in marketing and intellectual property concerns relating to the fashion industry round out the discussion. It is a great conversation, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
- Future Ready Business Podcast
- Follow Courtney White at – Courthouse Couture
- William Nilson on Instagram (@BigWillyGotBack)
- Art Cavazos Twitter (@FinanceLawyer)
- Erin Camp Twitter(@BusinessLawyerE)
Listen on mobile platforms: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
Marlene Gebauer 0:07
Welcome to The Geek in Review. The podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.
Greg Lambert 0:14
And I’m Greg Lambert. So we decided with so many people traveling this week, either for LegalWeek or there’s some KM meetings. And of course, depending on where you are in the country, it might be spring break as well. We wanted to bring you a special episode that I think you all will enjoy. So on the side, I produce a podcast with some of my colleagues here at Jackson Walker called Future Ready Business.
Marlene Gebauer 0:40
And while it’s a group of lawyers talking, it’s really about how laws affect businesses ranging from startups, doctors, crypto, and even fashion.
Greg Lambert 0:49
I enjoyed the topic of the Future of Fashion and the Law that Art Cavazos and Erin Camp pick for this episode. And I really love the fact that they were able to reach out to some friends of mine, Courtney white to actually works for me. She’s known on social media as Courthouse Couture. And William Nilson, who also runs a men’s bespoke suit company on the side. William and I are in our firm band. He’s actually the lead singer. He’s really, really, really talented.
Marlene Gebauer 1:20
And I follow Courthouse Couture, and I’ve had I’ve done so for several years, and I just love what she does. It’s really, it’s really great. So whether you are traveling or this is just a regular week for you, we think you’ll enjoy this discussion of the future of fashion and law.
Erin Camp 1:39
Hi, I’m Erin Camp, a corporate finance lawyer with Jackson Walker.
Art Cavazos 1:43
And I’m Art Cavazos, a corporate and finance lawyer with Jackson Walker. And this is Future Ready Business.
Erin Camp 1:50
As always, we’d like to remind our listeners that the opinions expressed today are ours and those of our guests, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jackson Walker, its clients or any of their respective affiliates.
Art Cavazos 2:02
We actually really have a great show lined up for us today. And and I say that every time but but this time, it’s absolutely true. So we’ve got Courtney White, and William Nilson, Attorneys at Jackson Walker, and of our Houston and Austin offices, respectively. But more importantly for today’s topic, just really outstanding people in the world of fashion. I’ll kind of throw it over to y’all to let you tell yourselves tell us a little bit about yourselves. Courtney, Will.
William Nilson 2:33
Ladies first please.
Courtney White 2:35
Hi everyone. My name is Courtney. I’m a research attorney in the Houston office. But on line…
Erin Camp 2:40
Courtney White 2:43
Hello, but online I am known as courthouse couture. I do have my name trademarked. I’ve been a blogger for a while since 2014. I got really really serious about Instagram probably 2017-2018. I have close to 30,000 followers on Instagram and almost 20,000 on Tik Tok. It’s definitely a hobby, but it’s one that I’ve really gotten interested in. And I’m so excited to be here with you all today.
Erin Camp 3:11
Thanks for that, Courtney.
Art Cavazos 3:12
And my wife is a huge fan by the way she like there was mandatory for me to say that. So
Courtney White 3:18
Thank you, Art.
Erin Camp 3:21
And she’s a physician. She doesn’t even go to the courthouse. So
Courtney White 3:23
William Nilson 3:25
I’m William Nilson. I’m an associate at the Austin office. He already said I do commercial real estate law. My crossover with fashion is I have a custom clothing company. We specialize in bespoke suit wear. So mainly formal wear, it does go down into informal wear and sometimes casual, but we do kind of focus on formal inclusions. Courtney, you said somebody Oh, yeah, followers. So I personally I have over 700 followers on Instagram, which I’m super proud of
Erin Camp 3:57
Big influencer there.
William Nilson 3:59
I’m really that’s my main.
Art Cavazos 4:00
He’s sold a bespoke suit to each one of them.
William Nilson 4:04
You can only follow me if you’ve bought a bespoke suit from me as a requirement. Now,
Art Cavazos 4:09
it’s a new requirement.
William Nilson 4:10
I would love to. Yeah. I would love to have that kind of following. So Courtney and I are gonna have to talk offline about some or maybe online about some strategies, because that’s fantastic. I love that you have all of that going for you. So that’s cool. But yeah, I love doing it. I love being a fashion and in law. So what’s what’s better than that?
Art Cavazos 4:32
The way that I learned that about us because I saw one of the suits that you were wearing. And I was like, that’s an awesome suit. You know, where did you get that? And he was like, Oh, I made it. And I was like, like, No, really? Where did you get it? He’s like, No, I really made it.
William Nilson 4:48
I’ve had that conversation. I think it’s like 80 times a week like everywhere I go to bed. It’s like the same conversation. And I have to make it feel like it’s totally normal. This is never happened before. But that’s our best way of advertising. It’s just getting out there and talking to people. And that if they like it, they’ll say something. And then I get to say that I made it. And it’s really exciting because I like doing it. And then if they don’t say anything, then I just got this off the rack whenever. It’s a lot of fun going out there that.
Art Cavazos 5:21
So we wanted to talk a little bit about the fashion business, and both of y’all or maybe as side hustles, or hobbies, both involved in that directly, which is, which is really interesting. And then we of course, also have attorneys here who practice in that area on the legal side. So different avenues to approach it. My first question, and, you know, either of y’all can can jump in, what is fashion?
William Nilson 5:52
Erin Camp 5:53
Yeah, I am ready to hear your answers.
Art Cavazos 5:56
Why do we care about it? Why should we care about it? And what’s the difference between those two things?
William Nilson 6:02
I’m feeling like Courtney should either go first to make sure the right things are said before the wrong things are said. So Courtney, do you want to start us off?
Courtney White 6:11
Sure, I will. I’ll kind of start with why I really started Courthouse Couture one, I was bored at work. And I told everyone, this was a long time ago, like I was a baby lawyer. And I said, I should start a blog called Courthouse Couture. And I started laughing and someone said, Actually, that’s a really good idea. And I sat on the idea, but when I was working as an insurance defense lawyer in Dallas, I was the only female that I saw. And so I started taking selfies of my outfits at work. And it really became a way for me to express myself, I thought women who were attorneys were supposed to where only one sort of thing. You know, when you’re in law school, you’re given a guideline, you’re told you need to have a navy suit, a black suit and a gray suit or charcoal. I felt like that was all I could wear. However, I grew up watching Legally Blonde and Elle Woods loves pink. I personally love pink. And so I found that fashion was a way for self expression. And so that’s what I would probably say fashion is it’s a way for self expression. And I definitely think we can still do that and being professional. So that’s my answer.
Erin Camp 7:17
That’s so interesting that you say that, Courtney about the like certain color suits, because when I was doing like my OCI interviews back when I was in law school, I actually chose to wear like a I think I honestly, like very boldly wore a red suit just to kind of stick out. And I had someone in the interview, asked me like or say to me like, oh, wow, that’s so bold, that you’re not wearing black, like you’re wearing a different color than black. Needless to say, I did not go to that firm, I had no interest in going to that firm, because they clearly didn’t care or agreed with that perception that like women should only be able to wear three colors in a formal setting. Did you? Have you encountered anything like that? Or have you met anyone that’s told you or reinforced that idea? Because since I’ve been practicing, I feel like no one’s ever made that comment to me again.
Courtney White 8:09
It didn’t happen. But what I did have happen is when I was working as an insurance defense lawyer, I had another female lawyer tell me to be very careful what I wore to court, which I still think a lot of that is true. And she said that I needed to be careful. And I had on a costume pearl necklace. And she said that it was not appropriate. Because if I were going to do a jury trial, a jury may view that one way. I do feel like while that perception isn’t fair, it is likely true. So I do talk a lot about that on my blog, I even talk about why you may need to be careful what handbag you carry to work, because I do think while it is a form of self expression, everybody is not there yet. So there are ways to do it. I think you can wear bright pink, if you’re not doing a jury trial, but I know that there is a lawyer on Tik Tok, that our whole persona is that she wears pink and she wears pink literally every day. And I love it because she’s completely going against that stereotype.
Art Cavazos 9:05
You mentioned the word persona there. And that’s really interesting. Because you also mentioned earlier about, you know, fashion being a mode of self expression. Online, I think there is this interesting kind of intersection between self expression kind of from like an artistry sense. And then kind of the commercial aspect of a persona and marketing and selling. Will you sell your bespoke suits. From a marketing perspective, what is fashion?
William Nilson 9:35
There are probably a lot of answers to that. But especially in men’s suits, you’ll find if you kind of study people that sell this kind of product, they tend to try to expose as many elements that they can provide in as few pieces as they can provide. So if you have one suit, you want to be able to show like every little detail that you might be able to do. So like aligning is going to be a little wonky, you’ll show like a custom signature as opposed to just embroidery of some kind. So it’s like every kind of bell and whistle that you can embellish. Mostly you’re doing that to encourage people to view something that they want on you. The second they see you. So another example of this is a lot of older companies like a lot of fashion companies that started in the 50s and 60s, that still have kind of glass front storefronts on affluent drives, like Winter Park Drive in Orlando, you’ll see like, all you’ll see these strange outfits that have tons of different colors. And it’s things that don’t go together. But the whole point of is to say, what can I get here? Like, what are all the options that I could get here, so that you’ll walk in the store and say, Now I know, I have like tons of options, when I walk in here, this is a place of creativity. So then it kind of expands your mind. And for the business owner, hopefully, I guess their perspective is that it would expand the wallet to it says like, like, I’ll spend money here because I know I can be creative. So that’s definitely from the marketing and business perspective. There’s a lot of that that goes on. As we shift away from mass retail into more sort of what people are doing now, which is customizing things, making them very unique to themselves. Because we have more ability to do that as technology increases with fashion. And sustainability is starting to be a focus, we start to see fashion more as How can I express myself with pieces that I may be modify or get modified. So you kind of want to show a personality and who you are uniquely through your marketing. If you’re a business owner, we’re just through who you are by wearing clothes. So from a marketing perspective, it’s all about showing who you are and creating your we talk a lot about personal brands, right? So it’s it’s a lot of creating a personal brand is what I delve into from the visuals perspective.
Art Cavazos 11:53
Yeah, I love that, you know, the idea of a personal brand. And I think a lot of people online now are realizing that’s what they’re doing online, creating a personal brand. And then also the idea of like, anywhere you look is going to be something that is a hook. You know, Oh, I like that. I want that. That’s really interesting.
William Nilson 12:15
Absolutely, hook that’s, that’s a good word for that. I’ve never thought about that. I’m a nerd for words, as we all are, as attorneys.
Erin Camp 12:23
I do think it is really interesting in fashion, because I feel like with the age of information and fashion has come sort of this like age of individualism. And I think that is what’s kind of unique to our decade and this generation of fashion. So I think that is really interesting that that’s kind of the business model that you chose to go after. But I also think that really, it’s kind of interesting to think about, right? Because at the same time as we are all emphasizing all this individualism, all these major like brands and fashion houses are starting to move away from like commercial marketing, and really start focusing on these like Instagram influencers and individuals and people that want to incorporate the brand into their personal brand, rather than, you know, just models and straight up just like one designer. I think that’s a huge shift in fashion. And I think it’s really interesting. Do you guys have any thoughts on that?
William Nilson 13:18
I completely agree. But I’ve talked a lot. I would love to hear from Courtney.
Courtney White 13:21
In terms of influencer marketing, I think the reason that it’s such a big thing right now is that people really want to see someone who looks like them in clothing. So there was not a lot of diversity in terms of the models that were used with a lot of different fashion companies in terms of size in terms of race and ethnicity, and even ability level. So you have now seen all of those things, especially during the pandemic, when companies did not have a way to formally put on marketing campaigns. They really utilized influencers, one because influencers were cheaper, and people could show how they were wearing items in their real environment at home. And that really, really resonated with people. And the influencer marketing industry I think is only going to continue to grow because of that. And Tik Toc has brought a new element into that because now video content really seems to be growing. And people love seeing people do get ready with me videos and talk about how they’re styling outfits, even what undergarments or whatever they may be wearing. So it’s just it’s fascinating, but I think what brands are realizing is that they can rely on individuals to help them market. I think the area that we need to probably grow in in terms of business is there’s not a lot of regulation of the influencer industry. That’s definitely something that I think Jackson Walker even I’m happy to work on. But I definitely think there needs to be more regulation in the area. There’s not a lot of regulation in terms of contracts. A lot of businesses are trying to create their own contracts on the fly. People are stealing people’s intellectual property, there’s just a lot of things that are going on because this area is so new. So companies are still figuring it out.
Erin Camp 15:09
Totally. And I really think like, with all this and as companies are figuring out, I mean, I think it’s also really influencing how these design houses are progressing in their style and how these new seasons are coming out. I mean, I really feel like there’s such there’s so much more emphasis, at least, especially in women’s clothing on like utility. I feel like it’s just very recent. And it might partially be due to the popularity of those try-ons and stuff, because now people are debating whether or not they’re going to buy things based off whether they’re actually useful, not based off of just what they look like in a picture. So I just think, like, influencers have had and just that marketing style, have had so much influence, you know, from how they mark it to even like how the designs are progressing and evolving from season to season.
Courtney White 16:03
Yeah, because people during the pandemic really, really wanted washable clothing. So people were constantly asking me Hey, is that washable is that washable? People did want to dry clean and dry cleaning prices and went up tremendously after the pandemic. And I still think that’s something that people care about. I do think to bring up something that Will said is that sustainability is definitely something that’s important. A lot of brands have been called out Coach being one of the main ones, because apparently when handbags aren’t, you know, being sold, they’re cutting them up, which is awful. And other brands got in trouble during the pandemic, because people found out they were burning their merchandise instead of selling it and putting it on sale. Burberry was a big culprit in that, as well.
Erin Camp 16:50
And I’ve noticed a shift in like red carpets and fashion events with that in sustainability. You know, less and less people are? Well, I guess more and more people are coming to the these events in like capsule collections or reward items instead of, you know, things that were tailor made for that event. You know, it’s just the fashion industry really is influenced by? I mean, it’s, I feel like we open this up, like what is fashion? Is it important? Is it related to this topic of future ready business? And it really is, I mean, it is a business, it is an industry, and it is truly touched and evolves exactly how like the rest, you know, just kind of like our politics and socio economic everything is evolving. And it’s all interconnected. And I think that’s so interesting.
William Nilson 17:41
Yeah, it was, somebody has a quote on this, that’s way smarter than me. The the idea that like fashion and art always precede changes in thought, like, like the rational spirit is preceded by the art that was driving towards the rationalist period. And then innovation comes after that. So it’s obviously all of our tech is always going to fall kind of behind what our fashion is showing, we want to do. And I think that’s where we’re headed is individualism is so such a focus now among everybody in terms of fashion, especially. And the more we have that focus on it, the more drive it’s going to be towards having a sustainable way to create clothes that we are ours. And it’s not really about trading it for the next style. It’s more about creating my own closet so that I can have something through my life that tells my story. And that’s a much more sustainable practice. And actually, it was a much older practice when people could not there was no innovation that allowed this mass production that we have now of clothing, which, you know, mass production of clothing has created lots of life saving, you know, things so it was a it’s an important step, I think along human progress. But now we’re the I believe the next step is to make things more individual more long term minded, less exchangeable. Less freely throw away-able, just like Courtney was saying, with cutting things up and all that and there’s never there’s never one enemy. It’s really, it’s really a mindset that’s changing overall, I would say.
Art Cavazos 19:09
So, I, you know, I think a lot of those points were were, you know, fantastic and spot on. You know, when I think about kind of the personal image personal brand, the individualism that is happening and the economy that’s moving on to the internet, and more and more commerce is done virtually and people creating their online brand is increasingly the kind of foundation of many different industries. Right? So what about when you introduce AI into that, right? Like, you’d look at what has been done with ChatGPT and, you know, kind of similar, I think Google released Bard to greet What’s the opposite of fanfare? But Courtney, you mentioned the intellectual property, you know, being stolen. You know, what about when someone can type into a software program, create a blog post in the style of Courtney White or, you know, Style Me and outfit in the style of Courtney White or William Nilson, or anyone, right? How does that change the game?
Courtney White 20:32
I think that’s huge. People can already do that, to a certain extent if they go on Pinterest, since Pinterest is definitely searchable, and I’m on Pinterest. That’s part of the reason I wanted to get my name Courthouse Couture trademarked because I was very serious about the fact that people could be stealing what I was doing, and someone actually did steal and influencers, blog posts and was using them. And I don’t know if she used AI, but she was rewriting and influencers blog posts. And she made her whole presence until she got caught copying this person’s work. So it’s already happening. But I if I envisioned people on ChatGPT, what I’d hoped they would be doing is saying, Help me figure out how to style black pants three different ways or helped me how to style a suit. But I do think people could also use it to help write blog posts, but they’re already using people right now a lot of bloggers use, I believe it’s Fiverr people are using services to write their blog posts. Because a lot of people think blogging is dead. I do think that’s the reason that a lot of influencers probably need to move toward owning their brand. They don’t own their online presence. We don’t own any of the platforms that we are on. I do own my blog. But if you look at a lot of influencers now, especially influencers that have a lot of millions of followers, a lot of them don’t even have a blog. So they’re completely relying on Tik Toc, which we know could go on a ban at any moment. If there’s ever an issue, because tick tock comes from a Chinese based company, not that we have anything against them. But I think in terms of business, if influencers want to move forward to become more viable, and to be respected, they probably need to own their brand, having their own blogs, getting their names, trademarked. Trademark is also a way to help you fast track into getting verified on social media websites as well.
William Nilson 22:22
Yeah, I think Courtney’s advice is much more practical than that, I would probably just offer up the pie in the sky, other side of it, which is I definitely, I struggle with copyright. Just generally speaking from a philosophy standpoint, because I went to music school, I grew up in musician and artists and all that, before I did law school, and then I found out that people get totally messed up right, by, by people by bad actors. I mean, that’s really what it is, is bad actors will either try to trick others into saying that they are someone who has created value and then extort value from others. By doing that, that’s one of the main protections. And then the other is using just using symbols that someone else has created or using content that someone else has created, calling it theirs and monetizing it. Both of those are are just stealing. It’s an how do we get past that. But then I struggle with the other side of it, which is how do we encourage creativity and freedom of thought, freedom of creation of new ideas, and placing people into situations where it’s positive to create and to borrow from others. The hip hop revolution was really critical. I feel like to that in terms of the music side of things. But that greatly influenced me in terms of how I view fashion. Fashion is one of the biggest grossing industries just generally, which I think there’s some probably some problems with that. But part of the reason it’s not as because copyright is just generally speaking, far less prevalent. The designs themselves, the patterns, it’s really hard to get down into patent work and copyright work when it comes to those patterns.
Erin Camp 23:56
Unless you’re like Louboutin or Tiffany Blue. Yeah, there’s some exceptions
Courtney White 24:02
It took Louboutin forever to get there. Right. Yeah, it took forever. So
Erin Camp 24:08
It took a huge lawsuit. It was like the last thing so I feel like I read that in like an IP course and law school. Yeah, like we all I think that’s like the token case.
William Nilson 24:17
It’s it kind of exposes how much of a resource to someone in an art. It’s truly it’s an art business. What kind of resources do they need in order to create some sort of value out of a restrictive covenant basically, on what they’ve created? And if it’s not supporting those that are in the most creative space, then it will stunt development in the field overall. So I don’t really have any answers on that. But I do think about that a lot. I think it’s a very important question for us to all be considering in terms of fashion and the way we’re proceeding into personal branding.
Erin Camp 24:53
Yeah, I mean, I completely agree. I think another part of fashion that’s really changed that we haven’t really talked about and on honestly, Will, I mean, you can probably you probably totally relate that to this is like, it is so much easier to start a brand than a that it’s ever been. And to have like a bespoke custom tailored tailoring company. I mean, it’s just, it is easier because it’s easier to advertise on all these platforms like Instagram and things. And so we’re seeing like so much more Diversity in brands, I frequently think about that sort of it’s, it’s like a conflict in what we’re doing, because we want to protect people for their creativity. But we want to encourage people to still participate. And we don’t want to penalize people for participating. So it’s just especially if what they’re adding is just like the next step or something. I mean, it’s just, you should that it’s arguably shouldn’t be patentable, because if we patent that, then the next step on that step can’t be, you know, accessed by anyone except for the person that owns the patent. So, I mean, it is like a huge conflict, that causes a lot of problems, it could cause an increasing amount of problems, if we were to ever change our thoughts on this, but luckily, you know, we are pretty loose on this in the US. And it’s very rare that you can have something, I just think it’s super interesting.
William Nilson 26:09
To give you an example that we had a client that he’s in Boston, he had researched his family lineage and his genealogy everything to find his his crest of his last name, and it’s a specific crest in Scotland. That’s not the his last name is very prevalent in Scotland, but he has a specific family line that has that particular crest. And if you go into like, there’s a word for like Crestology, there’s not Crestology but it’s very complicated. And he did all the research and said, This is it. And I know that this is it. His father passed away he wanted to place as a memorial inside his jacket as the lining. Such a cool idea. And we had to think through what are the copyright crossovers right now. And ultimately, as long as their solution that’s reasonable. I think it all works. And in this case, there was thankfully we bought a license for the image. But then I was conflicted again, thinking this is this guy’s family crest. Why should I need someone’s why should he more specifically ways that he should need someone’s permission to use the family crest that is his lineage to place on the inside of a jacket? That’s only his it’s not mass produced? He’s not making a profit off of it? I am. So I have to be sure that I’m doing it right. But it’s interesting as a question, but I love that we’re running into it on an individual basis right now. Because it’s getting people to think really deeply about what their copyright What am I as a copyright? How am I copywriting myself and my content? Does it matter or not. And if it doesn’t make anybody any money, we’re nobody else is making money on it, maybe it doesn’t matter. But we know people, other people are going to make money on someone else’s labor. If we don’t stop that from happening. Now I’m getting a little passionate.
Art Cavazos 27:51
So speaking of kind of, you know, modern treatment of, you know, traditional things, one of the premises or questions that we’re asking on in the Future Ready Business, you know, is, is this kind of a transformative time for the economy and for business? You know, I think the conventional wisdom unit, the pandemic has changed a lot of things, but we’re kind of exploring on this podcast, all the in the different industries. How is that true? Is that true? And in what ways is that true? Do you all see that being true in the fashion industry, you know, is this kind of a transformative time and what’s going to be different going forward, If so?
Courtney White 28:30
So when I initially wrote my blog post about people, you know, at wearing athleisure, after the pandemic, it was because a lot of companies really were shifting what they were selling in stores, because people were no longer wearing suits. A lot of people said their employees, and this was really to help get them back to work, could wear more casual attire than they had pre pandemic. However, I’m now seeing on the runways, that that’s kind of shifting back and kind of this maximalism is kind of floating back in. So I think we may see a mix of both. I do think that a lot of companies and just America in general is much more casual than other parts of the world in terms of what we wear. But I also think what’s happening is that brands are being forced to listen to the consciousness of the consumers, meaning people don’t just care about the fact that they liked our clothing. They also care about what you stand for. The Black Lives Matter movement was a definite example of that. Also, you have people asking questions about sustainability and about Me Too. And lots of other questions about people who own companies who are on the boards. Are your boards diverse? And so people are becoming much more educated because of Google, and people can look up everything and find out everything they want to know in a matter of minutes and start questioning it. And there’s also sites that are dedicated online to holding fashion brands and companies accountable.
Art Cavazos 28:44
Yeah, I thank you, speaking about one on your Instagram recently, the Birkin Slayer.
Courtney White 30:07
I’ve really enjoyed that. So someone started a page and they only do stories on Instagram called the Dake Burkin and Slayer and this page is dedicated to calling out influencers who are making it seem like they have Hermes Birkin bags, but they do not. And it’s also brought up that apparently these influencers are also linking products. They’re showing the fake product, but it’s a super fake because there’s levels to fakes. These are super fakes that look and feel almost exactly like the actual, whatever designer item, and they’re linking it to items that are real. So there’s this whole seediness of people buying into a lifestyle from influencers and they don’t really own it. It’s been really, really fascinating. But I think a lot of people just fundamentally don’t understand that. selling counterfeit items is illegal. A lot of people are comfortable with buying them, but a lot of people are not and a lot of people have followed this story because they said they felt like influencers were living fake lives. And there’s no way that these people can be buying 10 Birkin bags when Birkin bags. A plain Hermes Birkin bag may start at around $8000 to $10,000 depending upon the leather that you’re using, starting at on the very low end. And also they want you to have an extensive purchase list with them, meaning they want you to purchase their blanket, a bracelet, a scarf, all of these other things where you can even be offered a Birkin. I don’t know if you remember several years ago, they actually turned Oprah, Oprah of all people away from an Hermes store. So the entire topic has been really, really interesting. And even when I try not to be a lawyer online, I still end up becoming a lawyer online, because people end up asking all of these questions like how can people do this. And it’s really because US law allows inspiration, which really means you can be inspired by another design, but you can’t steal it. There’s a lot of brands I can think of that I won’t necessarily mentioned that often live the designs from other more expensive designers, there may be contemporary brands. And that’s okay, but outright stealing and stealing somebody’s logo is not. And I just think people are fascinated by that now, because now they can look everything up. But also DHGate, Alley Express are sites that are becoming huge because people can buy these fakes very easily. They don’t have to go to Canal Street like you used to do in New York, to buy fakes.
Art Cavazos 32:37
Yeah, I’ve been there. Those are not very convincing fake actually.
Courtney White 32:41
They are not. Unless you get taken into the back room Art. They had a back room that? You know, I’ve heard?
William Nilson 32:51
Art doesn’t go into back room. That’s a principle I think.
Art Cavazos 32:54
Will, what is your take on on the future of the fashion industry? And maybe I would actually be very interested in bringing it down to you know, where you’re working, you know, kind of the bespoke suit space. You know, what, what’s going on there? Is that something that is going to become a bigger part of men’s fashion?
William Nilson 33:14
I think it’s yes and no. As a self serving person, I should probably just a resoundingly say yes, yes. So it’s going to be the biggest thing ever. What I think is happening is people are figuring out that they can do things that they want to do for less money than then before because of workstream advances really. Shipping and the way international relations are going has its overall there’s been a dramatic increase in efficiency and flexibility with respect to products from A to B, materials are easy to get from A to B. And I just benefit from that directly. And so to my customers, I mean, it’s very much, we’re in a different world now with respect to making clothes for yourself by experts. So the fact that we can even do that right now was already kind of a paradigm shift. It used to be only done by a kind of traveling salesman style outfits. There recently, there are things like three or four very big companies that do a lot of what I do, it’s a made to measure bespoke process where everything is not from a an archive, an inventory. So it’s made for the client. But now people like me with in smaller operations in different cities are deciding that they have enough access to the market to make something that’s their ideas, put on to people more of what I do. people’s ideas put onto people because I try to focus on what people want to express themselves out. And that’s where I think it’s going to win, which is people bringing their ideas to me and me being kind of the just the, the applier of those ideas onto them in an efficient way. And then offering my consultation more on the side because their ideas are the fundamental that’s creating the piece that I’m doing. I think that’s the way that the market is going because it’s more value to the client for them to get what they want rather than to be at the whims of a designer. I do love designing. So I really relish the opportunity when a client says like, Hey, do you want to just do something for me that you make, I love doing it. But really, I know that the most value for someone is going to be getting to them to and they still want to have what they want. Even when they asked me to do something, it’s really just my creation. If I do something, and they don’t like it, they’re still gonna, they’re not gonna like it, even though they don’t like it. It’s still up to them. So I think that’s the direction is going. I think that the markets cyclicity, if that’s a word, is interesting right now, because luxury markets are always kind of down when free cash flow is down. And that’s where a lot of consumers are right now, because we’re in recession fears and all that. So people are a little bit less likely to be spending money. And that means that anything that’s seen as a luxury good, which could mean personal fashion, is always going to take a dive. And that’s where I see a current market that would change up probably within the next six or seven months. Back to we’re getting back into the office, I have to upgrade my wardrobe, I have to present myself and my personal brand and get real with this. That’s probably the my short term outlook.
Art Cavazos 36:21
And maybe AI will make it easier for people to design their own custom wardrobes. And that will become more and more the norm, you know, with all that supply chain.
William Nilson 36:31
Erin Camp 36:32
I mean, the designing your own wardrobe things with AI, I just I don’t like that. I want to the creativity part of putting your outfit together I think is you know what I really like. So I really think fashion in my opinion is like one of the few industries that AI like just cannot take over completely unless we find a way to completely recreate human creativity, which I just mean, I think we’re a long way from that.
William Nilson 36:57
I agree. It will not take over. I think it should be a tool. I hope we use it as a paintbrush. As soon as we get to that point, it’s going to be great. Yeah, if people start to you, I think you’ll notice very quickly if people are using only AI, I mean, now blog posts when people are posting that’s clearly AI driven. You can tell the difference in value, just it’s almost like a little Turing test, like you can kind of Oh, yeah, this seems like an AI wrote this. Some people kind of talk like, it seems like an AI wrote your conversation. Because they’re, like, they’re not thinking they don’t want to, you know, that will be part of society, inevitably, but it already is. Because that’s how we are sometimes as people as we try to phone it in and make sure we’re not really rocking the boat.
Art Cavazos 37:42
Well, you know, the time, there’s a lot of parallels, you know, for a lot of different industries, professionals in lots of industries, but the time that it takes a you know, human designer to design a bespoke suit for a customer and, you know, create that is always going to be more than if you have, you know, there’s already essentially video games were, you know, primarily marketed to girls, but we know we’re anybody could go on there and design. I mean, the marketing is funny, we didn’t get into like the gendered aspects of marketing. But for another episode, we can get into that a little bit, but you go in there, and you design, the outfits and everything. So it’d be very easy, I think, to take like these, the software’s that already exists, and just start making real clothes with that, you know, not very easy, but in the sense that it is kind of doable, the technology is there. And yeah, the supply chain management aspects that you mentioned, make it more more doable. But I think there will always be a place for a human designer, but their time is limited. So it kind of democratizes it in a way because for the people who can’t all access, you know, a human bespoke designer, maybe have kind of that as a substitute.
William Nilson 38:54
Yeah, consultancy always creates a certain amount of luxury. And that luxury is quantified by the extra time that it takes which creates that lack of efficiency, it’s always going to be a step above to have someone else working with you on a design and working. And I hope that that is the real value add because really, at the end of the day, the logistics, we want to simplify everything as much as possible. Speaking as attorney, we want to simplify the law as much as possible for the benefit society. I mean, I know that puts me out of a job but law in many ways, the simpler it is for people, the more efficient it is for everyone. Contracts are born out of the inefficiency of criminal mindsets. So it’s we’re kind of at this idea of how do we create a fashion sphere that is efficient for people but doesn’t ruin the value, the evident value of creativity. And that’s where law can be too. I think we’re headed though.
Courtney White 39:48
I do think that AI can be inserted into fashion. The more that people feel like they’re involved in the process, it will be fun for them. But maybe more of what I’m envisioning is AI being used to help us kind of eliminate some of the problems with fast fashion that have been brought up. Figuring out better ways to produce items. So maybe there are several people that want the same type of design, they don’t know they want the same type of design. But if we can all kind of quantify that and put that in one place, maybe there’s an opportunity to kind of streamline that process. I do think that already, you’ve got companies testing this idea out one of them I’ve worked with before. It’s a company that’s actually based in India that they do their best to provide equitable accommodations for the employees that work for them. And you figure out who that person is when you get your item back. But you can change the sleeve length, you can change, you know the color of your dress, you can change the length of your dress, you can put your height in, you can put in your measurements, and they charge you small upgraded fees for certain items when they’re shifted. So you can already kind of start creating what is a custom garment. I do think that more expensive design houses, they’ve always had an element of customization. I don’t think that will go away. But what I do think AI will provide his what Will has already talked about, it will provide people who don’t have access in terms of they don’t have the money to maybe go to Hermes and say I want a custom Hermes bag, but maybe a more contemporary designer has like a couple of designs that someone can use, which I think designers have already toyed around with that. And I think you may see more of that customization, people are already asking for it. You’ve already seen some brands adapt like Old Navy has started selling jeans, Good American does as well, that fit you if you your size fluctuates within three sizes. I didn’t think that was even possible. But the jeans are really popular, especially with women, because they can kind of wear them before childbirth, after childbirth, there’s all these different things. So I think you’ll you’ll just start seeing ways that customization can become a part of a normal shopping experience. Also, I think the way AI can be used is to maybe keep people from the inside of stores. Stores don’t want to hear this. But we know rent is expensive. We know that rent has changed post pandemic. And so I think what you may see is allowing people to have some of those custom experiences that you had to go in a brick and mortar store to do, you no longer will have to do those, you will be able to do all of that online. That’s what I envision. Nordstrom has already experimented with what they call a concept store. And they pretty much have them in California. I don’t know if they ever expanded beyond that, where you literally went into the store, you can see touch and feel things but you never took any items out of the store. The stores were smaller in square footage and footprint of a normal Nordstrom and you would just get the items shipped to your house that saves Nordstrom, they don’t have to be in a large mall and pay the same amount of rent that they normally would have to pay. And so it provides you still with a custom experience. And I just think AI will allow that. I think it will just allow more customization. The only thing that I struggle with is that AI needs to also be there on the production side. So you can have all of this AI but if the production side has not caught up with all of that customization, it still will not help the business owners bottom line, which means there’s going to have to be a limit on that customization. Because it just won’t make sense. Neiman Marcus there I believe it was their CEO or CFO just came out and said that the majority of their business is determined by only 2% of their customers, which means most of the people that are coming in Neiman Marcus are not what’s driving sales. So if Neiman Marcus is saying that I can’t imagine that everyone will be that highly customized. They will have to put limits on it and production will have to catch up for AI to really work in concert with having more customization options, and more freedom of design, which is why I agree with all of you that I don’t think AI is taking over anytime soon, but I could be wrong.
Art Cavazos 44:09
So I think we had a great conversation today about fashion and the intersection of art and business no pun intended, and Will, Courtney, thank you again so much for joining us and y’all were wonderful. Did you want to say anything? Here at the end? Did y’all have any internet handles to share or anything like that?
William Nilson 44:32
Sure. I’m rebranding right now. It’s gonna be awesome bespoke but for right now you could just get me on my personal Instagram which is Big Willy Got Back.
Erin Camp 44:45
Please add to his
William Nilson 44:48
711 followers. I’m desperate for followers. Every time I get to follower, I’m like, man, one step closer to Courtney.
Courtney White 45:00
It took a long time to get there truly. But I am at Courthouse Couture at almost every platform if it’s if courthouse couture is too long it’s courthouse court, but almost every platform, Instagram, Facebook, even YouTube, Courthouse Couture.
William Nilson 45:17
I’m adding you right now Courtney.
Erin Camp 45:18
Yeah. I already follow you Courtney. Well, if you liked our show, please rate and review us wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts and share FRB with your friends and colleagues.
Art Cavazos 45:31
Oh, yeah, normally I say that but that’s fine.
Erin Camp 45:34
You were taking too long.
Art Cavazos 45:38
Thank you to our producer Greg on the ones and twos. You can find this on Instagram at Future Ready Business and you can find me on Twitter @Financelawyer.
Erin Camp 45:47
And you can find me on Twitter at @businesslawyerE. E for Erin. As mentioned at the top of the show. The opinions expressed today are ours and those of our guests and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jackson Walker, its clients or any of their respective affiliates.
Art Cavazos 46:01
This podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for listening.
Marlene Gebauer 46:12
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to this special episode of Future Ready Business on The Geek in Review podcast. We’ll have all the links to where you can find Future Ready Business and follow Art, Erin, Courtney, and William.
Greg Lambert 46:25
You know William still needs a few more Instagram followers, by the way, so make sure that that we link to that.
Marlene Gebauer 46:33
And if you enjoy our show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,
Greg Lambert 46:41
And I can be reached @glambert to on Twitter.
Marlene Gebauer 46:45
Or you can leave us a voicemail on our Deacon review Hotline at 713-487-7821 and as always, the music you hear is from Jerry David DeCicca Thank you Jerry.
Greg Lambert 46:55
Thanks Jerry. He’s also very fashionable Alright, talk to you later Marlene.
Marlene Gebauer 47:00