On 26 March 2014, EU40 in cooperation with Cambre, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and Caravan Cultura creative agency hosted a debate on the role of the creative industries in the European Parliament (EP) Library, followed by a fashion show with ballerinas from the International Ballet School of Brussels showcasing the creations of emerging women designers. The aim of this event, which was brilliantly moderated by Leanda Barrington-Leach, a Director at Cambre Associates, was two-fold: to empower women designers by showcasing their creations and putting them in touch with institutional players and other industry stakeholders and to show that creative industries have registered a growing trend and are resilient in spite of the crisis. We were particularly happy that the debate and fashion show gave the opportunity to emerging designers from different geographical areas to meet, exchange and set the grounds for a future collaboration that will happen in the upcoming weeks. We consider the event fully reached its aim of bringing more than 100 people together and giving them the opportunity to collaborate in the future.
The debate was hosted by Katarina Neveďalová, MEP and EU40 Board Member, who opened the discussion by affirming the growing importance of the fashion sector and related industries: ”Why is the creative industry important for the economy of the EU? Because it is a growing industry and is creating, especially in times of crisis, 3 million jobs.” Her introductory remarks were supported by EC experts in the field: Karel Bartak, Head of Unit, DG Education and Culture said that “We have come up with this new programme, and the crisis helped us in a way because we saw that the culture and creative industries resisted the crisis much better than many other traditional sectors in Europe. Beside the grants we are giving with this small but intensive programme, we will be able as of 2016 to provide loans.”
Jean-François Aguinaga, Head of Unit Textile, fashion, design and creative industries in DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission spoke about the upcoming projects in the sector: “We aim in two years to organise 30 transnational partnerships between one designer and one factory. This is supposed to be followed in 2016 by a project of 10 million euro where instead of making 30 partnerships we will go to 300 partnerships.” Barbara Gessler, Head of Culture Unit, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency contributed to the discussion by bringing her expertise on the Creative Europe programme: “In the legal base, on the Creative Europe programme, we have for the first time an explicit mention of the area of design and this opens I think, vast opportunities.”
Apart from institutional players, the debate saw the participation of fashion industry representatives:
Edith Vervliet, Managing director SPI (Strategic Partnering Intelligence) – Creative Industries Support: “The traditional values chain of creation and consumption is being actively reshaped in the past years by the digital convergence. For starting talents, it also means an investment and often they don’t see the interest or they don’t have the means to invest already in their intellectual property.”