Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Rasha Ahmed

Second Advisor

Carol Clark


The fashion industry is a multibillion dollar industry that continues to grow. Currently, there is an ongoing debate on whether or not fashion designs should be able to receive copyright protections due to a phenomena called fast fashion. Fast fashion is when low end designers copy high end designs from both the spring and fall Fashion Weeks, produce the copied product quickly and sell before the high end good is released to stores. Copying in the fashion industry is possible because there are no copyright protections granted to fashion designs. With recent legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives proposing copyright protection for high end designs, the low end designers of the industry are threatened. Many fast fashion retailers (Zara, H&M, Forever 21) would go out of business, which would destroy thousands of jobs and drastically reduce the number of options consumers have to shop at. This paper will examine if the presence of copyright laws in the fashion industry would help or hurt the consumer and the industry. The methods of research in this paper are a case study on the global fashion industry, a second case study on industries that have copyright protection and those that do not, and a duopoly model showing the fashion industry.

My results conclude that numerically there is an optimum level to set copyright protections at, but that this is difficult to translate into words for legislation. Therefore, copyright laws are not recommended for the fashion industry.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Included in

Economics Commons