"Fashion sector can enormously stimulate economy in Latin America"

February 2009 -

"A creative economy is based on three factors: culture, creativity and knowledge. Extensive use enables these to innovate and multiply. As a result, they become a strategy for sustainable development of the planet, of society and, logically, of the commercial sector", says Lala Deheinzelin, a specialist on this theme and member of the advisory committee of IN-MOD, the Instituto Nacional de Moda e Design, affiliated with the São Paulo Fashion Week.

São Paulo Fashion Week, website

According to many experts, we are currently experiencing a transition in which traditional and concrete types of economic production are being replaced by less tangible processes like branding and creative labour. A United Nations research committee recently published a report that indicates that culture currently represents ten percent of the global product. The cultural sector, which is largely related to the relaxation and tourist industry, therefore appears to be able to translate creativity into innovative products, services and processes that generate economic development and improve the competitive position. This puts this sector in a key position in formulating policy to stimulate economic creativity and innovation.

As a creative sector, the fashion industry can play a vital part. Fashion is not only clothing: it is identity, attitude and socio-cultural communication. IN-MOD has therefore been inviting Brazilian designers, entrepreneurs, journalists and scholars to discuss the role of fashion and design in rising creative economies during the São Paulo fashion weeks since 2007.

Lucia Cuba, Peruvian fashion designer and consultant, was invited by IN-MOD to participate in the latest discussion in January 2009. "The idea of linking creativity to the formal economy is an interesting starting point, and one that is new to many Latin American countries. Fashion and design can enormously stimulate our economies, just as gastronomy is currently doing in Peru. This does, however, require professionalisation and diversification of both the products and the production processes, as well as the relevant knowledge and reflection. Brazil is proving that Latin American designers have more to offer than woven alpaca rugs and pseudo-European fashion. We can learn much from one another. It is for this reason that I have invited the director of IN-MOD to a return visit to the Peru Fashion Week that will soon be held in Lima", says Cuba.