Fashion’s more than hemlines and lapel width at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, which has started an industry practice focused on the creators of style. 

The fashion industry practice group, led by partners Lauren Wachtler in New York and Patricia Benson in Los Angeles, includes practitioners in intellectual property, real estate, labor and employment, immigration, litigation and corporate work. Clients include apparel and footwear, fragrance, textiles and accessories companies.

The 140-attorney, Los Angeles-based law firm also has launched a blog to enhance the practice called “The Fashion Experience: Legal News with a Fashion Sense.”

“It’s a natural fit for us,” said Wachtler, referring to the new practice group, which has about 30 attorneys.

With an established client base in its entertainment, international trade, and labor and employment areas, the firm created the group mostly by pulling together attorneys in its existing practices.

But one recent addition to the firm who is practicing in the new group is Gerald Hathaway, a former partner at Littler Mendelson who joined Mitchell Silberberg in March. The man is familiar with fashion—his daughter is actress Anne Hathaway, who happens to be on the cover of this month’s Vogue.

In October, the firm added Ariel Weindling as of counsel. He was previously the president and chief executive of PSDI, maker of Ed Hardy shoes.

Mitchell Silberberg’s fashion industry clients include American Apparel Inc., Pratesi Linens Inc. and Stone Mountain Accessories Inc.

Despite having a reputation as temperamental, creative types, fashion clients are no more difficult than other clients, Wachtler said. “We represent a lot of people in the music industry and the theater,” she said. “The more difficult the client, the more challenging the work.”

Leigh Jones can be contacted at