Here’s the story of how our beloved Aarhus will become a fashion metropolis. Thank you to Christian for this interview and I hope you all will enjoy it!
“An important goal and success criteria in this project is to gather the businesses in the fashion industry, to facilitate part of the communication process but also to help with more core business issues.” Christian Chapelle
#1. What is Headstart Fashion and how has it all begun?
It all began while making the new business plan for Aarhus (2014-2017). We decided to focus on the fashion industry. We analyzed the way the fashion world is constructed and we discovered that there are a majority of very small companies, some medium size and a few large ones. These large companies earn most of the revenue in the business. The conclusion was that we could improve the situation of small companies, by helping them grow, in order to generate more jobs in the region. Our next discovery was regarding IT and Social Media. The media platforms offer so many possibilities, but at the same time a lot of challenges and problems to the inexperienced beginner. Even large companies have big trouble in finding out how to approach this topic, to make a professional website, to offer online sales and also to create their online identity and attract clients. While identifying the problems we came up with seminars and open discussions in 2013 organized mainly for information and networking.
#2. What is the purpose of the project and what is your approach in achieving it?
The plan is not finalized yet, because well … to continue the idea about the business plan for Aarhus, we became aware that the region has a project named MoreCreative and they want to help the growth of the creative businesses. We thought that we could get some financial support from the region and we could focus on one specific area (fashion) and try to make a difference. We received a few hundred thousands crowns in 2013 and had to work within this small budget. End of 2013 we applied for more financial support and luckily we received more funding. I believe we have very good partners and the project is exactly what the region and Aarhus need right now. An important goal of the project is to gather the businesses in the fashion industry, to facilitate the communication process but also to help with more core business issues.
#3. Who are your partners and what is the basis of your collaboration?
HEADSTART FASHION is strong because of our many partners; fashion businesses, educational institutions like VIA University College (TEKO Design + Business) and organizations like Danish Fashion & Textile (DM&T) and Danish Fashion Institute. At the time being we are trying to find out how to do it and make a good plan. What I can say is that, when we made the first application, we already had partners representing the industry. Now we are going to rethink the process and how to involve more partners in order to make the best possible project.
#4. Where can we find Headstart Fashion and how can we be part of it? How do you want to create awareness?
We are all over the place! (smiles) There are different ways to receive public information about the project. HEADSTART FASHION can be found in press stories, but the main source for immediate updated info would be our main site and our facebook profile. At the moment we are also working on a smaller publication. We are even looking into having partners like for instance bloggers, “Fashion Forum” and others.
#5. Would it be possible to collaborate with the fashion bloggers from Aarhus in any way?
I think the blogger society from Aarhus and from Denmark in general is a potential important pillar for our project. Society is changing in a way that people read and see advertising all over the place. But when one reads a blogger’s post, it is obvious that it is personal and probably comes from the heart. It is easier for people to relate to bloggers. In this way it can boost a business, a collection … the companies today need to be aware of the bloggers.We have to stay focused while HEADSTART FASHION grows but regarding the blogger community in Aarhus, in the region, in Denmark and internationally – I really think collaboration would be a great!
#6. What are the expectations of the project? Hopefully it will position Aarhus as a fashion city on the world map.
“I truly believe that we should have more focus and be more involved in transforming Aarhus and the region.” Christian Chapelle
There is an enormous potential in Aarhus and the whole region, and not many people are yet aware of that potential. But HEADSTART FASHION cannot make the growth on behalf of the companies. We can only support and facilitate and then the companies have to do the rest themselves. The facilitating process can be done in many ways and that is what we are already trying to do and we will keep on doing it bigger and better. The entire region has an enormous potential. We should not look upon Copenhagen and say “We have to do what they do in Copenhagen “. It is essential to collaborate with the businesses in our region, and then find our own way. I am certain this would be beneficial for all of us!
By Ana Borta