Hi! My name is Whitney McGuire. Esq. (she/her/hers) and I am a mother, a New York state licensed attorney, legal & sustainability consultant/ strategist, and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, an organization that disrupts the whitewashing of sustainability in order to concretize equity in the sustainability movement.
I have been considered a pioneer in the field of fashion law and a fierce advocate for the sustainability of communities first and most impacted by environmental and social degradation due to the climate crisis. I began studying fashion law in 2011, eventually becoming chairperson of Fashion Law Week, a student-run, annual series of events dedicated to educating the public about legal issues impacting the fashion industry. In law school, I provided research for the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (H.R. 2511) a federal bill that would introduce copyright protection for fashion designers. This bill died on the Senate floor, unfortunately. I also joined the staff of my law school's Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy where I drafted an article highlighting the human toll of fast fashion two years prior to the Rana Plaza tragedy. My article was not published, however. In 2013, after graduating the Catholic University of America - Columbus School of Law, I opened my own law firm to support the sustainability of marginalized artists. I completed a federal clerkship in 2017 and joined The Fashion Law Group as a contract attorney and eventually, of counsel before exiting to begin consulting and advising artists and art institutions on hybrid legal, business, sustainability, and equity issues as a solo practitioner once more.
I've held positions in lobbying, the U.S. federal judiciary, various fashion-oriented for profit and non-profit companies, and law firms. In addition to my work as a mother, co-founder, attorney and sustainability strategist, I am a professor at Parsons School of Design and Glasgow-Caledonian University (NYC) where I teach undergraduate and masters level courses pertaining to business law, design, and sustainable fashion. I have held positions on the Las Vegas Fashion Council Board of Directors, The Las Vegas Arts District board and The Women's Prison Association Board of Directors. I received my undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature and Africana Studies from The George Washington University.
Feel free to contact me if you'd like to work together.
- Artist Contracts Series (All 3 Courses) Do you know how to protect your intellectual property? As an artist, it’s important you know how to protect your practice. Contracts are a fact of life in any business so it’s important you empower yourself to sign good contractual agreements. This workshop is for artists of all disciplines at any point in your careers who want to learn skills for reviewing contracts. Don't sleep on this course series! It's worth every penny! Plus you save some coins by downloading all three videos here versus the a la carte option.
- IP 101 (Copyright, Patents and Trademarks) You will learn the definition of intellectual property as well as a brief history of intellectual property, the high level differences between copyrights, trademarks and patents using examples from fine art, literature, fashion and music. The focus will be on copyright law since it is the most applicable type of intellectual property for artists. You will also learn about new intellectual property technology and NFTs.
- Know Your Contracts In this workshop, you will learn about protecting your work and addressing common clauses. I will explain the different types of intellectual property theft along with some of the most common licensing provisions in artist contracts.
- How to Sustainably Price Your Work You will be introduced to contract clauses that pertain to artist’s compensation as well as how to create a rate floor for commissions and some common variables your rates are contingent upon.
- Fashion IP and Sustainability Workshop This Fashion IP and Sustainability workshop is a one day intensive workshop (4 hours) that teaches you about the basics of intellectual property and sustainability using the fashion industry as an example. You will also learn the basics of business entity formation and how to protect your IP. And you will gain an understanding of your own IP and how to protect your brands as well as a nuanced perspective about cultural appropriation and how it relates to sustainability.
- How Force Majeure Clauses Impact your $$$ If you are bound to a contract for service or performance that is scheduled to take place this season, or has been cancelled due to COVID-19, you should refer to your contract for a Force Majeure clause.
- What is the Difference Between Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks? Many creatives own intellectual property, but few understand what exactly it is that they own and therefore, don't fully understand how to maintain ownership, disseminate it, and/or protect it from others who may not have the creatives' best interest at heart. Here is a very basic breakdown about the different intellectual property categories and how they apply to one's work.
- Breaking Down the Freelance Isn't Free Law (NY) Are you frustrated by tracking down unpaid invoices? Would you rather be spending your time doing other things like creating? If so, this mini course is for you.
- How to Set a Sustainable and Profitable Rate Part 1 of 2 In this mini course, I discuss how to calculate a rate that is profitable and SUSTAINABLE as a creative entrepreneur.
- How to Set a Sustainable and Profitable Rate Part 2 of 2 This mini course is for any creative entrepreneurs who are unsure about how to value their services, or those who are not seeing profits from their project-based work.
- Follow me on Gumroad to stay up to date on law courses I offer for creative entrepreneurs as well as courses on sustainability + social responsibility.