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Fashion as Creative Economy: Micro-Enterprises in London, Berlin and Milan

Book Launch: Angela McRobbie with Bastian Lange

Fashion is under the spotlight like never before. Activists call for environmental accountability, and wide-ranging debates highlight exploitation across global supply chains and the reliance on unpaid labour. Digital technology undermines traditional fashion companies, while small-scale independent fashion designers provide radical innovations in design and work in more socially inclusive ways.

This book contributes to a new sociology of fashion. Focusing on the working lives of independent designers and based on ethnographic research and interviews carried out in London, Berlin and Milan, the authors consider the urban policy regimes in place in these cities. They analyse how these regimes shape the microenterprises and the emerging political economy, as well as the structures needed for designers to flourish. They also develop several key concepts – the ‘milieu of fashion labour’, ‘social fashion’ and ‘fashion diversity’ – and chart the new world of digital fashion-tech and e-commerce.

Drawing on lessons from European initiatives and recognizing the capacity of microenterprises and start-ups to determine fashion’s future, the authors call for the industry to be significantly decentralized to ensure more diversity and less exclusivity.

Angela McRobbie is Emeritus Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Bastian Lange is Geographer, Founder of Multiplicities, Private Docent at University of Leipzig.