Process, Practice and Policy
Edited by Colette Henry and Anne de Bruin
Chapter 9: Coping with the Cutting Edge: Enterprise Orientations and the Creative Challenges of Start-up in the Fashion Design Sector in New Zealand
Colleen Mills INTRODUCTION Creative industries are an important economic focus in many countries, but particularly in New Zealand where the last ten years have seen several creative sectors move from the fringes to become viable economic forces. This is particularly true for the film and the fashion industries. Both recently burst into the international limelight and their subsequent successes have contributed significantly to a broadening of New Zealand’s economic profile. The prominence of these sectors has both led to and been facilitated by, at least in part, the fifth Labour government’s recognition of the potential of the creative sector to be a significant contributor ‘to the future economic growth and global positioning of the country’ (de Bruin, 2005, p. 143). The recent and rapid rise to prominence of such creative industries is not mirrored in the literature on creative industries. Scant attention has been paid to exploring the experience of creative start-up, particularly in the vibrant and fiercely competitive New Zealand designer fashion industry (DFI). Successful enterprises in this industry sector represent the tip of a growing iceberg of enterprises that operate on a ‘knife edge of risk’ (Gregg, 2003, p. 13), yet they are already making a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). We need to know more about the genesis and process of business consolidation of these enterprises if we are to develop supportive policy and training opportunities to maximize their chances of survival and fully realize their potential to contribute to the nation’s economy....
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