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Seminar Series: The economic geography of fashion design in South Africa – Potential beyond large fashion cities? 

Mapping the location of fashion designers working in South Africa to test the idea that the fashion sector could support the development of small towns as well as larger cities.

There is increasing recognition that fashion design is an important growth area for the African creative economy and could play a role in contributing to job creation and economic development. Creative industries, including fashion, tend to cluster in large cities which give access to markets and specialist creatives. However, the creative industries can also be important to small town development, and the global dominance of “fashion capitals” is shifting to include smaller cities. As online work makes creatives more flexible in terms of location, creative workers may choose smaller cities and towns because of lifestyle attributes, “soft” infrastructure and important cultural heritage links. This study mapped the location of fashion designers and related workers in South Africa to test this idea. It also looked at fashion design case studies, investigating the career paths and heritage that fashion designers draw on.

Jen Snowball is Professor of Economics and Head of Department at Rhodes University, South Africa, and also a researcher at the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO).

About Creative PEC’s Seminar Series

Creative PEC’s new Seminar Series presents cutting-edge research from across the world, bridging conversations across academia, policy and creative practice. The series aims to spark discussion on emerging research and implications for creative industries policy.

Who the seminars are for:
– Creative industries researchers
– Policymakers (local, regional + national)
– Anyone keen to find out more about emerging creative economy research

Each seminar will be held online, and begins with a deep-dive on new research followed by a Q&A. Make space for an hour each month to keep up to date with the latest ideas in creative economy research.

For any questions about the Seminar Series, please get in touch with us at

Online Zoom Webinar

Thursday 16 May, 3.00pm (BST)

Sign up here

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