Chapter 13: Partnerships and industrial clusters: the case of the fashion cluster development in Montreal
The metropolitan region of Montreal is the third-largest city in North America for the apparel industry workforce, after Los Angeles and New York; 75 percent of Quebec’s jobs in the fashion and garment sector are in Montreal, where there are also 50 000 jobs in manufacturing, distribution and retail (CRHIV, 2011). Given the strategy of the Montreal Metropolitan Community to develop industrial clusters, including the fashion garment sector, and to strengthen the image of Montreal as a fashion capital, I analyzed the sectoral dynamics of the fashion sector. I wanted to see whether there are interactions fostering creativity and innovation, as suggested by the theory on industrial and creative clusters: and there is indeed an influence of partnerships and networks on creativity and innovation. On the basis of a qualitative study of partnerships, associations and intermediary organizations, as well as designers and companies in the fashion industry, I wanted to determine the role of partnerships and intermediary organizations (Camagni and Maillat, 2006) as a source of information, innovation and creativity. This led me to investigate the contribution of relationships, partnerships and networks to innovation and business management. I wanted to see whether the designers use the potential of local resources available to them, how they do this, and what it brings to them. On the theoretical level, I refer to the theories on the various forms of proximity (geographical, social, organizational, institutional) and I try to determine whether the closest resources (physical or geographical proximity) are actually the most important.
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