Will #TheRealFD Please Stand Up? Fashion Digital Battles in NYC Federal Court

I’ve never left my wallet unattended in a crowded space.  Because, while my faith in humanity insists that nobody will steal from me… I know that there will be some folks inclined to snatch that shit without remorse.  And with that, I lead you to this:

At the earliest inclination that your business will experience positive growth, protect it.  Do not leave your company vulnerable to theft. There are people like Ryan Slack of GreenPearl that will try and take it from you.

I am the founder of Open Source Fashion (OSF). I edit and approve content that gets published on this platform, but have yet to lend my own insights. So, why now?  I’ve been inspired by my recent experience testifying in US Federal Court, on behalf of Sandy Hussain and Fashion Digital.  I hope that this article will in turn inspire you to assist me in removing the black veil covering Ryan Slack, founder of GreenPearl.

Cliff Notes Version of My Involvement w/ Fashion Digital:

  • Early 2012: I met with Sandy Hussain at her office in the meatpacking district of NYC.  At this meeting, she asked me my opinion on different aspects of a conference program that she had been planning.  She referred to this program as Fashion Digital.
  • August 2012: OSF signs on with Sandy as a marketing partner for the first run of Fashion Digital in October 2012.  It went incredibly well.  We continued our marketing partnership for subsequent Fashion Digital programs.
  • Mid 2014: I learn that Sandy was caught in a messy ownership battle for the Fashion Digital, a series she had conceived, implemented, and built from the ground up.
  • December 2014:  Sandy asks me to become a marketing partner yet again, this time for a series called FD Mobile to be held on March 24th in NYC.
  • January 6, 2015:  I respond to Sandy’s email request to partner, stating I’m on board.
  • January 7, 2015:  I receive a contract from GreenPearl on behalf of Fashion Digital Mobile, to be held on March 24th in NYC.  I sign it.
  • Later in Jan 2015:  I find out the Fashion Digital Mobile program I signed a partnership agreement with is not Sandy’s program.  Errrrrr, what the fuck?! 

FD Mobile

Request Your Invitation to #TheRealFD

What happened here?  Here’s the rundown:

Sandy created Fashion Digital and contracted her then boyfriend’s (Ryan Slack) company GreenPearl to act as event manager / logistical partner.  As the program experiences early success, Ryan leverages his access to the program to simply take it as his own.   Sandy had effectively been locked out of the Fashion Digital program.

Fast forward —> Sandy files a claim against Ryan Slack and GreenPearl.  While the case is pending in Federal Court, Sandy plans a mobile edition of Fashion Digital.  Shortly after announcing the program on her blog, GreenPearl reveals a mobile edition of Fashion Digital on the same date.  Understanding that they have a sizable advantage in terms of resources, GreenPearl has moved fast to activate relationships originally developed from Sandy’s hard work.

Now, there are two Fashion Digital Mobile edition conferences on March 24th, 2015 in NYC.

You decide who #TheRealFD is: The following is a list of download links to documents and fun facts that relate directly to this case:

Formal Claims:

  1. Initial claim submitted by Sandy to NY State Court.
  2. Federal Court claim submitted by GreenPearl.
  3. Sandy’s counterclaim against GreenPearl for infringing on FD Mobile.

Relevant / Interesting Reads:

  1. 12/25/11: Ryan blogs about how he has trouble being honest.
  2. 06/13/12: GreenPearl agrees to be logistical partner for Fashion Digital.
  3. 10/2012: Copy of Sandy’s opening remarks at the first Fashion Digital Conference.
  4. 11/14/14:  Sandy makes first announcement of FD Mobile event on March 24, 2015.
  5. 12/10/14: Reshma Raniga (GreenPearl) announcing their “FD Mobile 2015.”
  6. 02/2015:  GreenPearl has zero witnesses to help corroborate their story in Federal Court.  Sandy had so many witnesses step forward, that there was not enough time for everyone to take the stand.

Sandy Hussain Fashion Digital

Sandy giving opening remarks at Fashion Digital NYC 2014.

I’ve been close to this program from its inception.  To me, it is clear that Sandy Hussain is going through a tough and unwarranted battle.  This certainly isn’t the first time a trademark has been infringed upon.  If Sandy ends up losing this battle, it will also not be the first time a business was successfully stolen in front of a live studio audience.

How can you avoid a similar situation?

  1. Use the trademark symbol at all times.  Even if you are not registered, you can still use a trademark symbol.  Read; When And How Do I Have to Use Trademark Symbols?
  2. Document absolutely everything.  Make sure to keep a record of every mention you make of details regarding your company.  Proof of concept weighs largely if you end up going to court.
  3. Make sure to be very clear in roles you define for partners.
  4. Read every line of your vendor / partnership agreements.  If it’s too arduous a task, have an attorney review it.

OS Fashion is a proud sponsor of #TheRealFD. We will be recording our podcast Fashion Is Your Business at the program!  I’m excited to learn, connect, and enjoy with the attendees.

To request an invitation, email info@fashiondigital.com

Show your support for Sandy simply by tweeting: 

I support #TheRealFD #FashionDigital #FDMobile @ 55 Broad St, Digital Sandbox, March 24 NYC. cc @SandyHussain  https://os-fashion.com/magazinefashion-digital-federal-court

Cover Picture taken by @PavanBahler of @OSFashion in Wynwood Arts District, Miami.  Artwork Credit: Unknown



Pavan Bahl

Pavan founded Open Source Fashion (OSF) in 2011. He has since emerged as a connector between innovators working in fashion, retail, and related technologies. He's a strong advocate for startups and entrepreneurship, focusing his efforts on uncovering opportunities for the OSF membership base between New York City and Washington, DC.