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How to Run a Fashion Competition

With the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund competition underway (the winner of £200,000 and a year-long mentoring program will be revealed on Tuesday 24 March 2015), Utelier was inspired to seek advice for professionals who want to run a fashion competition.

Tahir Basheer, an Industry member specialising in fashion and media law for leading London-based law firm, Sheridans, offers top tips and advice.

Top Tips on how to run a Fashion Competition

A fashion competition is a clever way to promote a brand, accelerate social media activity and generate sales. They are commonplace in the fashion industry and used in a variety of ways. Today’s top tips give you pointers on how to promote competitions so that you stay in line with the related legal and regulatory obligations.

For example, Next Model Management launched a selfie Instagram competition to find model talent, and Urban Outfitters held a Vine competition named #YourChucks, where entrants could win Converse trainers.

Whether the promotion has a marketing or human resources goal, it is important to have some understanding of how the law views competitions.

Related reading: Legal Tips for Fashion Collaboration

If you promote an illegal competition, you could face legal action, an investigation by regulators and damage to your brand’s reputation and also confuse/receive complaints from your audience.

Competition Law

In the UK a distinction is drawn between competitions, lotteries and prize draw. Lotteries are paid for and involve chance, whereas a competition requires a significant element of skill.

Lotteries are classed as gambling and are governed by statute, but competitions and free prize draws are not regarded as gambling.

The Skills Test

To qualify as a competition rather than a lottery, skill, judgment or knowledge is required from the entrant.

A competition cannot rely wholly on chance or it will be seen as being a lottery.

The Act requires that to be considered sufficiently skilful, the question asked or task required to be completed will put some people off from entering the competition (i.e. not totally obvious to everyone).

The CAP Code

The Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) also has a Code which regulates promotions and prize promotions, although it is not codified by law. Under the Code, a promoter (i.e. the brand offering the competition) must ensure that the terms and conditions are clear.

Here are some tips for key areas to clarify when writing your fashion competition terms and conditions:

  1. The competition start and close times and dates.
  2. Any rights to cancel the competition.
  3. Who the competition promoter is (this will normally be the brand involved).
  4. Any restrictions on entering the competition (i.e. aged 18 and over, or a resident in the UK only, or one entry per person, or not open to employees of the brand or a student of a fashion college, etc.).
  5. How the winner will be selected. If this involves judges they should be identified and also must be independent.
  6. A detailed description of the prize(s) and any limitations or restrictions on the prize(s).
  7. How/when the winner(s) will be contacted.
  8. Information required from entrants and any company use of the winner’s name, photo etc.
  9. To ensure as far as possible the “free to enter” nature of the competition, a statement that “no purchase is necessary” should be included, flagging that entrants may be subject to local call charges depending on their own individual arrangements for internet access.
  10. Express acknowledgement that entry to the competition is conditional on acceptance of the competition terms and conditions.
  11. Information on who will own intellectual property in the entries. For example, you may want to use and own the rights in the entries if it is a design competition.
  12. A data protection statement sets out how you will use entrants’ personal details and pointing to any privacy policy.


Do you have any other insight on how to run a fashion competition? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.