Douglas Hand is an attorney who specializes in the fashion industry. The dapper defender represents buzz-worthy names including Rag & Bone, Steven Alan, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Yigal Azrouël. In addition to representing haute clientele, Hand is a member of both the CFDA Incubator Program and the CFDA’s Business Advisory Committee.
Who were some of your first clients in the fashion industry?
My practice began in the M&A group of Shearman & Sterling (a multinational corporate firm) where I advised on the Club Monaco sale to Ralph Lauren and corporate finance work for DKNY. When I left and started my own firm, Rag & Bone, Charlotte Ronson and Steven Alan became some of my first clients in addition to media clients like Refinery29 and LX.TV.
How did you influence the growth of their business?
Advising these companies on corporate and intellectual property issues helped them when they took on investors. We also did those initial deals (e.g., Rag & Bone’s deal with Andrew Rosen, Charlotte’s deal with Sanei International, Steven’s deal with Bedrock Brands) and made sure that the investment terms supported continued growth and development and did not stifle creativity.
There are many behind-the-scenes details when orchestrating fashion events. What kinds of issues do you deal with for your clients as New York Fashion Week approaches?
Many shows are sponsored by large corporations and the elements of those transactions can be pretty bespoke. For example, the use of a car and driver for fashion week from an automobile sponsor, or a three-year supply of some vitamin water from a beverage sponsor, in addition to cash to help offset the production costs of the runway show.
How do challenges differ for multi-label e-commerce sites like Moda Operandi or La Garçonne from private label companies like Rag & Bone?
Multi-label sites have to purchase from numerous brands whereas private labels typically do not. That is changing though, as you can see from examples such as J. Crew and Steven Alan, which offer other brands in addition to their own.
Did attending law school in New York City influence your own sense of style and your decision to represent clients in the fashion industry?
Probably. I grew up in Southern California and have lived in New York and, for a short time, Paris, so I think my style spectrum is pretty broad. But representing clients in the fashion industry likely stems more from being comfortable representing creative industries and a facility with both corporate and intellectual property law.
Do you wear clothes by the designers that you represent? Who are some of your go-to’s?
Yes indeed. Rag & Bone, Steven Alan, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rogan, Yigal Azrouël, Belstaff, Public School. I am also a big fan of Todd Snyder, Robert Geller and Simon Spurr (before he left the company).
Do you prefer shopping online or in-store?
The in-store experience with a knowledgeable sales person is important. Particularly, I think, for menswear. For basics, where I know my size and the fit of a designer, nothing beats the convenience of online.
When did you become involved with the CFDA?
2007. It is such an important trade association that really does a great job helping its members. Steven Kolb’s stewardship has been critical to that.
What are your duties as a member of the Business Advisory Committee of the CFDA?
My firm does pro bono work for the CFDA and I have put together speaking panels and legal workshops for member designers. I also do similar work for Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute. The CFDA also has an incubator program and I have worked with other professionals in the industry mentoring emerging brands like Bibhu Mohapatra, Prabal Gurung, Number Lab, Burkman Brothers and Reece Hudson.
Who is your ultimate style icon?