Luxury shoe label, Sigerson Morrison, is set to debut its first collection without Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison. In what fashion historian and director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Valerie Steele, calls a “cautionary tale”, the design duo sought financial backing to take their $30 million shoe brand to the next level. In 2006, Marc Fisher acquired the label and the corresponding intellectual-property rights for $2.6 million. Sigerson and Morrison each retained a 10% stake in the company and were hired as “co-heads of design” for seven years. Trouble seems to have started for Sigerson and Morrison when they came to believe that their designs were being knocked off for the lower discount lines owned by Marc Fisher, a notorious copier. Remember Gucci v. Guess and the Ivanka Trump, Derek Lam drama?
In 2011, Sigerson and Morrison were fired from the company and the currently pending legal battle, which stems from an alleged breach of contract, commenced. Although Sigerson and Morrison may continue to design, they cannot use their names on any of the designs. In a recent piece, the New York Times asks: WHAT is a designer label worth without the actual designer? For Sigerson Morrison, this is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Sigerson Morrison is one of the leading examples of why fashion lawyers are becoming increasingly necessary. As Ms. Steele further notes, “Fashion is not only a creative field, it’s also a business” and designers need to be protected by people that know how to do so.