About the workshop:
The role of fashion trade fairs for independent fashion designers
The fashion industry has grown considerably into one of the world’s most important creative industries. The growth and success of fashion companies largely depend on a dynamic network of intermediaries. In theory, digitalization and globalization allow cutting intermediaries and interacting directly with the consumers, but the extent of such dis-intermediation remains unclear. This workshop focuses on one specific intermediary and temporary cluster – the international fashion trade fair – and investigates its role for independent fashion designers. The aim is to better understand how fashion designers enter the market, how they stand out of the crowd, and what factors influence their choices and strategies, success and failure. The workshop draws on the results of the NWO-KIEM project “Behind the scenes in Dutch fashion; Bridging the gap between independent fashion designers, craftsmen and fashion intermediaries” led by Dr. Mariangela Lavanga.
About Dr. Mariangela Lavanga:
Mariangela Lavanga is Assistant Professor in Cultural Economics at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) – Erasmus University Rotterdam. She lectures in the International Bachelor in Cultural Studies (IBACS), the Pre-Master Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship, and the Master in Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship. Her expertise lies in the analysis of the interrelations between cultural/creative industries and cities. She focuses on fashion and design-oriented firms, their business and growth models, and internationalization strategies; fashion and design fairs/events as intermediaries and temporary clusters.
Mariangela is particularly interested in the role of intermediaries and curatorship in the creative industries, in particular in the fashion and design industries. New intermediaries and new processes of valuation challenge the position of the traditional intermediaries. However, despite digitalization cultural intermediaries are still needed for mediation between cultural production and consumption.
In doing so, she is working on:
- The role of intermediaries in the fashion industry, in particular fashion fairs and concept stores (Why trade fairs are still important? Are online fairs substituting the physical fairs? What is the role of trust in design exchanges, that is in decisions involving risk and uncertainty?)
- Entrepreneurial practices of independent fashion designers in the (slow) fashion industry (What are the entrepreneurial practices of independent fashion designers? What are their decisions in terms of where to produce and how? What strategies do they use to enter the market? What are their key intermediaries?)