Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the introduction of the new shirt of the Red Devils, fashion seems to be everywhere, but, in all modesty, I think fashion has a special place in the heart of Antwerp.
1/3 of the total value added in the creative industry in Flanders is generated in Antwerp and 1/3 of the employment we can find in Antwerp. And finally the number of starters is also compared to our other flagship sectors spectacularly grown since 2013.
In order to maintain its position in this challenging, globalizing world the creative industry needs to renew and evolve continously according to the societal challenges surrounding it .
I think the programme of today proves the creative industry is on top of things. It is important all of us take time to discuss these societal challenges with each other in an inspiring environment. This is exactly the reason why the province of Antwerp supports Fashion Talks.
On a daily base we support the creative industry as a partner in Antwerp Powered by Creatives. Antwerp Powered by Creatives is a platform and actual meeting place where the creative industry can meet up with other sectors.
Beside stimulating cross sectoral networking, we also financially support initiatives (like circular textiles)that work on keeping the value chain local and therefor more sustainable. In the afternoon cabin sessions of Tom Duhoux of Hrvst you can learn more about this.
And last but not least, there is our Fashion Museum. If you have more time to spend in Antwerp and havent yet visited the exhibition of Olivier Theyskens, I warmly recommend you to do so.
I wish you an inspiring and creative event.