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    Milan, Paris, New York...Songjiang? Shanghai Plans Massive "Fashion Silicon Valley"

    Over the next six to seven years, the China Textile Industry Association and Songjiang district government plan to build a sprawling, 2,000 acre "Fashion Silicon Valley" designed as a talent incubator, arts district, design hub, and production center.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    City Looking To Build "World-Class Creative Design Cluster & New Chinese Fashion Landmark"#

    “Fashion Silicon Valley" will be cover around 2,000 acres when complete

    This week, at the otherwise not-very-newsworthy Seventh annual Asian Color Forum (第七届亚洲色彩论坛) in Shanghai, one interesting item managed to come to light. According to the Shanghai Evening News, over the next six to seven years, the China Textile Industry Association (CTIA) and the Songjiang district government plan to build a long-rumored, sprawling 2,000 acre "Fashion Silicon Valley" designed as a talent incubator, arts district, design hub, and production center. An ambitious project to say the least, as the planning committee set out this week, the planned "Valley" will form the home base for anywhere from 400-500 local and domestic brands, and include a design center and brand operations hub for companies and textile design firms. In all, the planning committee forecasts, the vast complex could become the base of operations for upwards of 60,000 workers once fully operational.

    Fixated on that old buzzword, "innovation," the CTIA and Songjiang district government also plan to include a "designer's club," meant to bring together designers in the park and foster "better communication while breeding innovation."

    As the Shanghai Evening News points out, it's perhaps no accident that the city's Songjiang district is angling to position itself as a Chinese design powerhouse. "Since ancient times," the paper writes, "Songjiang has 'clothed the world,' and the new 'Fashion Valley' will sit adjacent to seven universities, including the textile- and fashion-focused Donghua University." As one unnamed Songjiang district official added this week, the area's "strong textile culture" makes it one of the most suitable in the region for a project of this size and scope. While the concept of "textile culture" may sound dry in translation, it helps explain why district officials are so motivated -- the area is historically known for fabric production and, increasingly, design, and perhaps more importantly, officials see this as a potential money-making powerhouse.

    Located in the western part of the New Songjiang Industrial Zone (松江工业区西部新区), the CTIA and Songjiang district government have "mostly completed" around 200 of the planned 2,000 acre "Valley." As another unnamed official, this time with the CTIA, said this week, "In the future, we'll introduce more services into the complex. For example, as our plan sets out, in coming years we'll build a large-scale section for fashion shows, art galleries, and shopping, which will be open to the public." Let's just hope the public doesn't give "Fashion Silicon Valley" the same cool reaction they gave Songjiang's somewhat surreal facsimile of a British village, the notorious "Thames Town."

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