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Handels- og investeringsministerens tale ved åbningen af Copenhagen Fashion Week den 1. februar 2012

Læs Handels- og investeringsministerens tale ved åbningen af Copenhagen Fashion Week på Københavns Rådhus den 1. februar 2012.

Designers, members of the fashion community and the press, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, welcome to the opening of the Copenhagen Fashion Week here in the Copenhagen City Hall. And thanks to The Danish Fashion Institute for hosting and organising this important, international event for the next 5 days.

In the fashion industry size does matter! And as Minister for Trade and Investment, I am extremely pleased with this year’s size of the Copenhagen fashion week. 60,000 visitors, buyers and media representatives from all over the world. 2,200 Danish and international brands at 5 large exhibition areas and 44 shows all over Copenhagen. This is one of the largest, international events in Copenhagen and it highlights our fashion industry as one of Denmark’s largest export industries.

Despite the fact that the retail industry in Denmark and most European countries are facing declining consumer spending. And despite fierce competition from other fashion weeks like Berlin and Stockholm, Copenhagen Fashion Week has proved its position as one of the most important fashion weeks in Europe. Congratulations to the organisers and all the people involved in making the event such an important and successful event year after year.

It is only by staying innovative and it is only by striving to become number one, that we are able to maintain our fashion week as one of the very best in the world. I know that it takes a lot to achieve this goal, but it is a vital precondition that Denmark is an open country. Open to new ideas. Open for international business. Open for new investments and open for new people. We will be much better able to create strategic alliances and capture new business opportunities in emerging markets by being an open country that wants to embrace the world. This goes for Denmark as a country. It goes for our large fashion companies and it goes for our upcoming designers.

We cannot do it alone. I believe that international partnerships are the key to success. Let me give you an example. Recently, I had the honour of opening a Danish innovation centre in Hong Kong. The innovation centre will be focussed on design, and I signed an agreement for Denmark to become a partner country at the “Business of Design Week” which will be organised in Hong Kong in December this year. I am very proud of Denmark being selected as a partner. Therefore, allow me to bid a special welcome to the participants from Hong Kong, who are with us here today in Copenhagen.

Denmark’s creative industries enjoy a strong global position. The industry just had the best year in terms of export with 2011 figures showing a 13,3% growth compared to 2010. The Danish fashion and textile industry produces more than 30 billion Danish kroner in annual turnover and more than 90% of its earnings come from sales outside Denmark. These are impressing numbers and I believe that there is a large potential for continuous growth and increased export to both existing and new markets.

This is why the creative industries are one of the 5 sectors that I will prioritize in my work as a minister. My ambition is that the Danish Government should help to unleash the potential by ensuring the best possible framework conditions for the industry. This is our duty as Government, and rest assured that we will not disappoint you in this regard. Danish fashion is known for its unique perspective on design, innovation and aesthetics. Danish fashion has a more modern approach without sacrificing functionality, and it has a strong focus on small details and produce high-quality clothing at reasonable prices.

This is just some of the reasons why foreign interest in Danish Design is growing. However, there is another important aspect to mention where the Danish fashion industry has a strong edge. To me corporate social responsibility is the new black and luckily the Danish Fashion Industry seems to agree with me. I am pleased to see all the good efforts and commendable initiatives, both from The Danish Fashion Institute and from individual companies putting CSR on their strategic agenda.

The Danish fashion and textile industry has just agreed on the first sector-specific initiative under the umbrella of the UN Global Compact. And this will be launched during the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May. By doing so, Denmark becomes a front runner and it benefits the whole industry.

Let me mention two upcoming Danish brands with a strong CSR platform and growing exports to international markets. The Baand and A Question Of. They are both selling an environmentally friendly collection with organic African and Peruvian cottons certified under the right standards and with an acclaimed code of conduct.

And they add value by co-operating with designers, photographers, bloggers and artists. To me this is a perfect mix of innovation and creativity combined with high quality organic cotton and good working conditions for the textile workers.

We need more of this, and that is why we must strengthen the creative industries in Denmark even more. Besides The Centre for Culture and the Experience Economy, the Danish Government has established four zones within fashion, music, gaming and food in order to take it one step further. We wanted to see the full impact of new business models and new partnerships across creative industries.

The Fashion Zone or Modezonen has during the last 3 years delivered impressive results within an increasing number of areas. Let me mention Speed Dating for Danish fashion companies on sourcing and partner search. The Design Incubator as a dedicated growth initiative for the selected few and CSR-initiatives on a Nordic level as well as Fashion Forum as a strong web-platform.

Our main export markets for fashion are still the European markets. Good customers, agents and distributors from Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Norway and Finland secure this position. And for this, please receive my thanks and appreciation.

However, we must think and act globally. Not only in terms of sourcing, which has been taking place for years, but also in terms of conquering new retail markets. More and more Danish fashion companies are looking to establish themselves in new markets far from Denmark.

Therefore, I am pleased that we are able to have our sector advisors from our trade missions in Tokyo, Sydney, Toronto, Beirut, Moscow and Warsaw present on all 5 fairs here in Copenhagen over the coming 5 days to assist both small and large companies, when they decide on new markets to pursue their growth potential.

Thanks to the work done by the Gallery Fair, Kopenhagen Fur and our sector advisor in Tokyo, at this Copenhagen Fashion Week we are able to present a delegation of top buyers and media representatives from Japan visiting Copenhagen with a comprehensive program over the next days. I hope that you will enjoy your stay and basically fall in love with “the cool Copenhagen”.

Location is almost as central to the fashion industry as to the real-estate business. One of the most spectacular outdoor events in the history of the Copenhagen Fashion Week, was the world longest catwalk. It turned Copenhagen’s main pedestrian street into a central location. This would not have been possible without the understanding of the town hosting the event. I would like to thank The City of Copenhagen for being such an important partner in ensuring that the industry can enjoy the hospitality from both your indoor and outdoor locations.

Finally, let me quote one of the most famous designers of all times, Coco Chanel. She said many illuminating things about the fashion industry, including this one:” “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

And right now it is happening in Copenhagen.

Thank you.