Fashion Quarter Arnhem
Topic of the practice
The Fashion Quarter Arnhem started in 2005 as part of an urban upgrading process. It offers workspaces, shops and places to live for fashion designers. At the moment more than 50 fashion designers and other creative entrepreneurs are having their business in this neighbourhood, which is situated close to the city center. The whole fashion chain is present: from designer clothes and accessories, to a model agency, a fashion photographer, stylist, small scale production facilities (sample workshop) and a fashion incubator (Arnhem Mode Incubator).
Good Practice Information
The Fashion Quarter started as part of an urban upgrading process with the objective to bring back liveliness and economic activity into the deprived neighbourhood (named Klarendal) and to reduce unpleasant developments like drug related problems and unsafety. On the other hand at the city level there aspiration to increase the visibility of Arnhem hosting the famous department Fashion Design at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts and to find a ways of keeping design talent in the city and to foster it. These ambitions came together creating a Fashion Quarter, by offering designers affordable workspaces where they can design, shops where they can sell their designs and appartments were they can live. The housing association 'Volkshuisvesting Arnhem' and the City of Arnhem were the main stakeholders at the beginning of this process. Volkshuisvesting Arnhem owned most of the real estate in the neigbourhood and invested a lot in refurbishment and making premises suitable for the designers.
Also they invested in buying real estate at locations which were important 'stepping stones' in the neighbourhood of entrepreneurs in the area and did, for example, invest in a good marketing strategy for the Fashion Quarter. The city of Arnhem invested in the restructurering of the streets and public spaces, but also in projects to coach and train the designers to become more entrepreneurial, and in improving the social climate of the neigbourhood. Concerning the investments: Volkshuisvesting Arnhem invested 30 million euro in the period 2005-2012; the city 3.2 million. Also the province of Gelderland (financially) supports the whole development. The Fashion Quarter was developed and led as a project; the end date pending on a critical mass of entrepreneurs and the level of organisation of the entrepreneurs. The beginning of 2011 was the point in which Volkshuisvesting Arnhem and City of Arnhem started to put more and more responsiblities in the hands of the entrepreneurs.
Evidence of success
This practice is considered as succesful because the upgrading of a deprived neighbourhood is connected with start-up support of fashion designers (workspace, shops etc.). Also the project succeeded in keeping more creative talent in the city. More than 50 jobs were created, the neighourhood is much safer and the quality of life has improved. Point of attention are the entrepreneurial skills of the designers. Since medio 2011 the Arnhem Mode Incubator offers coaching and training. Also the connection between the inner city (main shopping area) and the Fashion Quarter needs attention. The initiative as such can hardly be transferred, because the concept depends a lot on the local situation of fashion as a main economic cluster in the city of Arnhem and the conditions in the district. The model and strategy of the initiative, however, could be transferred (even to a different sector than fashion).
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