Interview with Douglas Hand

Douglas Hand is one of the pre-eminent fashion lawyers in the United States and a founding member of the law firm Hand Baldachin & Associates LLP (HBA)


What are the most pressing issues for luxury 2020?

Environmental concerns over consumerism and production methodologies and raw materials that are not sustainable. Brands focused on products continuing to be considered “luxury” in an environment where more and more luxury consumers are spending on experience not product. Continuing to produce at the requisite level of quality in the face of the slow erosion (due to age) in reputable and skillful manufacturers.

How are trading wars impacting the sector?

Uncertainty is crippling business planning and financing. With China having become a production location for many luxury fashion brands, rising costs on these imports are either cutting into margins or just increasing the costs passed on to the consumer. We are seeing a continued shift away from Chinese production on balance which may have long term benefits.

Have you spotted any new or emerging luxury fashion markets?

Argentina – on a micro level. While it’s economy is still struggling, tourism there continues to develop and new brands like Gaucho – Buenos Aires are reviving some of the craftsmanship (particularly with leather accessories) the country has long been capable of if not known for.

Why do you think it’s important to bring in house legal counsel and law firms together to discuss business challenges facing the luxury sector at the Luxury Law Summit?

It’s a global industry. We represent not only US brands, but brands like Stella McCartney and Zadig et Voltaire. As a fashion law practitioner in New York and LA, my colleagues are all over the globe. It’s important to have a single venue to see them and have a dialogue.

What is your advice to eponymous brands?

You know I have a lot to say about this, but the biggest challenge comes at M&A exit. The excruciating decision of a founder and designer to sell of his/her name and legacy. The advice centers around educating the client about the lack of control over the brands’ usage post exit while also negotiating as much as leverage allows, for degrees of certainty around these points and even trademark buyback rights on liquidation/restructuring scenarios.


Douglas Hand will be chairing the Designers and The Name Game: Issues with Eponymous Brands session alongside speakers Willy Chaviarria, Founder menswear brand Willy Chaviarria, Anna Coroneo, Founder womenswear brand Anna Coroneo and Nick Graham, Founder menswear brands Nick Graham and Joe Boxer at the Luxury Law New York Summit. See the agenda HERE.