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From Fashion to Design: Creative Networks in Industrial Districts

  • Tine Aage
  • Fiorenza Belussi
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    Creative industries enjoy a great deal of attention in Western economies these days. Creative industries can be identified in sectors producing new artistic artefacts, such as those occurring in the film industry, or in the performing arts, etc., or in the manufacturing and service sectors, where the implementation of novelties is at the heart of the productive capabilities of firms. Post-modern consumption is strongly characterized by fashion, because it assists the fragmentation and an “aestheticization” of daily life. Fashion goods become symbolic relational goods, status symbols, means of communication of identity and aesthetic satisfaction. Our research topics concern: firstly, a theoretical discussion on the evolution of fashion, which has moved from a top-down model (as envisaged by the class-conscious approach of Simmel) to a bottom-up model, as described in the post-modernist approach by Lipovetsky; secondly, a theoretical reflection on the business model adopted by firms to deal with the issue of designing new products, which is often related to the building of external-to-the-firm creative networks; thirdly, a theoretical discussion on the model of an industrial district, seen here as an efficient organizational tool very efficient to deal with the circulation and external absorption of knowledge and fashion trend information. District firms, using a multiplicity of fashion sources, are able to increase their probability of selecting the winning fashion trends, and to reduce their probability of “not-knowing” the winning fashion trends. We present some empirical evidence showing that a complex governance of several fashion sources is required to intercept fashion trends. Fashion emerges in a chaotic environment, as a bottom-up recursive process, partially controlled by fashion firms that scan external information sources and build some interpretative/creative capability developed together with external-to-the-firm agents. Our work uses some empirical data collected through a survey based in the industrial district of Montebelluna, localized in northern Italy, in Treviso. In Montebelluna, several important international producers of sport shoes and sport items are located. Qualitative interviews were conducted during 2004-2005 involving 13 final firms (some of them are leading firms) and 11 designers.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Industry and Innovation.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 475-491

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:15:y:2008:i:5:p:475-491
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