Edited by Elizabeth Chell and Mine Karataş-Özkan
Chapter 19: Developing entrepreneur networks in the creative industries - a case study of independent designer fashion in Manchester
Empirical research has so far emphasized the unique business behaviour of creative entrepreneurs, from the level of individual business up to industry sectors (i.e., both vertical and horizontal relationships). Some have suggested that creative businesses are not 'businesses' in conventional terms because they do not operate within a profit-seeking discipline. Others argue that if the creative industries are called industries, we should be able to evaluate them in the way we do conventional industries. This chapter evaluates and examines the two perspectives not as paradoxical, but as interrelated, using case studies of social networks in creative industries in Manchester, UK. In particular, I am concerned with how entrepreneurs in the independent designer fashion sector form and alter their social networks in relation to the nature of the specific industries they are in. As such, I explore to what extent the creative production is able to be assessed by sociological questions of culture and aesthetics, trust and identity, as much as by markets, risk management and innovation in economic terms. This chapter uses a case study of independent fashion designers in Manchester in order to throw light on the role of networking in the creative industries and some of the methodological challenges this presents for researchers. While recognizing there is some controversy over the term 'creative industries', and that the terms cultural and creative industries are often used interchangeably, I settle on creative industries as the most frequently used in the academic and policy literature to which I refer.
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