Baltic Fashion

Promoting the innovative Baltic Fashion industry throughout the Baltic Sea Region

Total budget:
€ 2.3 M
Project duration:
 2010–2013
Topic:

Regional development

The Baltic fashion sector is mainly composed of SMEs, with a large share of females not only in services and administration but also in production (80% in new member states). Despite dramatic changes within the last decade resulting in a loss of a third of their volume and jobs, textile, clothing and leather industries still highly contribute to employment,especially in the eastern Baltic Sea Region (BSR), where the sector counts for approximately 6% of the workforce.

However, as evidenced by a comprehensive analysis of the sector by DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (May 2009), there is potential to counter this trend by focusing on INNOVATION, to facilitate a shift from non-European mass-production towards new forms of regional production, and TRANSNATIONAL COOPERATION, to turn differences among BSR countries into business advantages.

There is currently, however, no structure in the BSR offering the targeted, transnational support necessary for fashion SMEs to turn their innovative ideas into economic success. The Baltic Fashion project is intended to fill this gap. It links into the EU BSR strategy priority 8, which calls for actions to strengthen SMEs, especially in the creative sector, and to promote female entrepreneurship. The city of Gdynia is a partner in the project and organizer of the Gdynia Design Days (“cooperative action” under priority 8). In addition to its contribution to (female and non-metropole) employment, the project will also contribute to bridging the East-West divide.

Bringing together a strong consortium of partners including regional authorities and business support agencies, fashion associations and educational facilities from all BSR countries, Baltic Fashion aims to create a self-standing BSR wide network with the following goals:
  • Strengthen the international performance of the BSR fashion sector and its support structures through development of an information platform, cooperation meetings, and joint analyses (statistical data, good support practices, sectoral activities and potential for cooperation) leading to common sets of actions.
  • Promote and transfer knowledge on innovations in the sector (new production methods and technologies, trends, materials), especially to eastern BSR countries and with a focus on sustainable development.
  • Further develop and realize existing business support activities and facilities (e.g. business training programmes, business clinics), create new spaces for industry cooperation and internationalization (e.g. business cooperation events), and facilitate the shift of fashion production back to the BSR.
While the project will mainly work through support structures, it is expected to reach out to hundreds of SMEs during its lifetime.
Baltic Fashion will not only make a positive contribution to the economic development of the region, but also to its overall sustainability: it will promote eco-friendly production and materials as well as regional production, contribute to women entrepreneurship and strengthen cultural identity.