Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett.??

The creative industries are potential revenue-generating areas, especially in terms of foreign exchange, securing employment and facilitating export development.This view was expressed by Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, following the launch of the Fashion Design Association of Barbados (FDAB), at Bagnall???s Point Gallery, Pelican Village, yesterday.Mr. Blackett said: ???The potential is certainly there for the fashion and design industry to grow. The creation of symbiotic relationships between designers of fashion, textile and accessories, as well as pattern making and grading, is the key to development and success of the fashion sector.???In light of this, he noted Government???s plan for the industry included working closely with partner agencies, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), Invest Barbados, the Barbados Community College and the newly formed Association to develop methodologies and provide infrastructural support for the industry.As a means of improving the sector, Mr. Blackett said a Policy Paper had been prepared by the National Task Force on Cultural Industries with a number of stated objectives and strategies for the development of these industries. He also disclosed that a study tour of Sweden, to witness first-hand the infrastructural development of that country, was being explored. Commenting on the establishment of the new entity, Mr. Blackett stated that his ministry had been concerned about the absence of such a body with which to engage in dialogue. ???We have been speaking to designers on a one-on-one basis about such an idea. ??The formation of this organisation signals that the designers are serious about developing themselves and the industry, and in working together as a cohesive unit,??? he said.The Culture Minister mentioned that inspite of the challenges – the high cost of production, unavailability of raw materials, lack of funding and design space and a lack of trained operators many of the island???s designers had achieved some measure of success. One such person, he noted, was Antonio ???Posh Punk??? Cumberbatch, a graduate of the Barbados Community College???s Fine Arts Programme, who had a reputation as an avant-garde designer. He is currently studying fashion design in Italy. Mr. Blackett congratulated the Planning Committee of the FDAB for recognising the need for ???a strong, cohesive, fully functional, legal entity to represent those practitioners and professionals in the field of fashion and design???.He thanked supporting agencies, such as the BIDC, Invest Barbados, the Caribbean Export and Development Agency, and the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries for the role they played in ensuring the success of the Association.

FDAB is a unified body that would allow Barbadian designers to access additional government support, communicate their needs to all stakeholders, give moral support to their partners, and share resources and information with each other. clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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