A group of local fashion designers are now members of a new ‘Guyana Fashion Designers Council’, launched last Sunday at the Umana Yana under the auspices of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA).
The setting up of the council was made possible by a grant of €30,000, which the GMSA received from the European Union’s Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) for this express purpose.
According to Head of Political, Press and Information at the EU Delegation Derek Lambe, apart from setting up the council, the money will also be used to “fund capacity building activities for operators in the local fashion industry, including training by professionals from abroad and visits by local fashion designers to centres overseas”.
He noted that the European fashion industry is the pre-eminent fashion industry in the world and cited major fashion houses such as Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, Armani and Dior, all extremely successful globally.
Noting that the fashion industry in Europe is worth over €30 billion (US$40 billion), Lambe revealed that it accounts for 850,000 companies, 5 million jobs, and another 3 million related jobs; 3% of EU gross domestic product and 10% of exports. Despite the economic downturn and debt crisis over the last few years, he said, the outlook is now quite positive and “the European fashion industry is forecast to grow by 9.3% between 2012 and 2017”.
In that vein and considering that fashion links creativity, design and craftsmanship to modern technologies, branding strategies and successful business models, Lambe pointed out that the fashion industry can contribute to further economic growth and increasing exports. “This is as true for Guyana as it is for Europe,” he said.
Meanwhile, GMSA President Clinton Williams pointed to the success of Empretec, which marked its 10th anniversary with a gala event at the Pegasus last night. He noted that that business support organisation was a product of the GMSA, just as the new Fashion Designers Council now is. “This time we are pursuing the lucrative opportunities available in the international multi-billion US dollar fashion industry,” he said, adding that the funding and opportunities would help to ready “Guyana’s fashion designers for the big stages”.
The council’s official launch, under the theme ‘Fit Me 2013’, was a gala event which saw a fashion display by council members. Also in attendance was Minister of Human Services Jennifer Webster, the patron.