Fashion, Design and the Future of Cultural Heritage Law

Fashion and design are increasingly viewed as a part of our culture and cultural heritage. Notwithstanding this increased acceptance and promotion, however, the legal classification of fashion as cultural property, a part of cultural heritage, is undervalued by current fashion law literature, cultural heritage law and public law more broadly. How are we to address the unique needs of a fashion object when it is of public interest under the law? What do we do when the alteration or destruction of a fashion object, which exists as a private property, would be against the public interest? How do we reconcile the immaterial aspects of a fashion object with its material aspects in the public interest? Using a comparative law methodology focused on Italy and the United States this paper seeks to answer such questions by presenting, through fashion and design, a new understanding of cultural heritage law and, by extension, a new understanding of public law.