The City as a Creative Hub: The Case of the Fashion Industry in Milan, Italy

  • Marianna d’OvidioEmail author
  • Valentina Pacetti
Part of the Dynamics of Virtual Work book series (DVW)


The chapter explores the extents to which the concept of “hub” is suitable to represent the role performed by the city of Milan in the spatial, social and economic organisation of the fashion industry. The system is territorially organised according to two main, complementary, forces: a strong local embeddedness and an equally strong internationalisation process. Through these analyses, the authors draw some reflections on the importance of the notion of hub for the urban and development policies.


  1. Amin, A., & Thrift, N. (1995). Institutional issues for the European regions: From markets and plans to socioeconomics and powers of association. Economy and Society, 24(1), 41–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bathelt, H., Malmberg, A., & Maskell, P. (2004). Clusters and knowledge: Local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation. Progress in Human Geography, 28(1), 31–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bathelt, H., & Turi, P. (2011). Local, global and virtual buzz: The importance of face-to-face contact in economic interaction and possibilities to go beyond. Geoforum, 42(5), 520–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becattini, G. (1990). The Marshallian industrial district as a socioeconomic notion. In F. Pyke, G. Becattini, & W. Sengerberger (Eds.), Industrial districts and inter-firm co-operation in Italy. Geneva: International Institute for Labour Studies.Google Scholar
  5. Becattini, G. (2004). Industrial districts: A new approach to industrial change. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  6. Best, M. H. (1990). The new competition: Institutions of industrial restructuring. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brenner, N. (1999). Globalisation as reterritorialisation: The re-scaling of urban governance in the European Union. Urban Studies, 36(3), 431–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Breward, C., & Gilbert, D. (2006). Fashion’s world cities. Oxford and New York: Berg.Google Scholar
  9. British Council. (2016). The creative hubs report 2016: Understanding the new economy. London: British Council.Google Scholar
  10. Brusco, S. (1982). The Emilian model: Productive decentralisation and social integration. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 6(2), 167–184.Google Scholar
  11. Bunnell, T. G., & Coe, N. M. (2001). Spaces and scales of innovation. Progress in Human Geography, 25(4), 569–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coe, N. M., & Yeung, H. W.-C. (2015). Global production networks: Theorizing economic development in an interconnected world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Currid, E. (2007). The Warhol economy: How fashion, art, and music drive New York City. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  14. d’Ovidio, M. (2010). Fashion and the city—Social interaction and creativity in London and Milan. In S. Vicari (Eds.), Brand-building: The creative city. A critical look at current concepts and practices. Firenze: Firenze University Press.Google Scholar
  15. d’Ovidio, M. (2015). The field of fashion production in Milan: A theoretical discussion and an empirical investigation. City, Culture and Society, 6(2), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. d’Ovidio, M., & Cossu, A. (2017). Culture is reclaiming the creative city: The case of Macao in Milan, Italy. City, Culture and Society, 8, 7–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunford, M. (2006). Industrial districts, magic circles, and the restructuring of the Italian textiles and clothing chain. Economic Geography, 82(1), 27–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Evers, H.-D., Nordin, R., & Nienkemper, P. (2010). Knowledge cluster formation in peninsular Malaysia: The emergence of an epistemic landscape (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 1691008). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.Google Scholar
  19. Gereffi, G., & Korzeniewicz, M. (Eds.). (1994). Commodity chains and global capitalism. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  20. Gilbert, D., & Casadei, P. (2018). Unpicking the fashion city: Global perspectives on design, manufacturing and symbolic production in urban formations. In L. Lazzeretti & M. Vecco (Eds.), Creative industries and entrepreneurship: Paradigms in transition from a global perspective. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  21. Henn, S., & Bathelt, H. (2018). Cross-local knowledge fertilization, cluster emergence, and the generation of buzz. Industrial and Corporate Change, 27(3), 449–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jansson, J., & Power, D. (2010). Fashioning a global city: Global city brand channels in the fashion and design industries. Regional Studies, 44(7), 889–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leslie, D., & Rantisi, N. M. (2011). Creativity and place in the evolution of a cultural industry. Urban Studies, 48(9), 1771–1787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Magatti, M., Senn, L., Sapelli, G., Ranci, C., Manghi, B., Dente, B., et al. (2005). Milano, nodo della rete globale: un itinerario di analisi e proposte. Milano: B. Mondadori.Google Scholar
  25. Markusen, A. (1996). Sticky places in slippery space: A typology of industrial districts. Economic Geography, 72(3), 293–313.Google Scholar
  26. Martin, R., & Sunley, P. (2003). Deconstructing clusters: Chaotic concept or policy panacea? Journal of Economic Geography, 3(1), 5–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mora, E., Rocamora, A., & Volonté, P. (2014). On the issue of sustainability in fashion studies. International Journal of Fashion Studies, 1(2), 139–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Neal, Z. P. (2014). Types of hub cities and their effects on urban creative economies. In B. Derudder, F. Witlox, S. Conventz, & A. Thierstein (Eds.), Hub cities in the knowledge economy: Seaports, airports, brainports. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Oakley, K. (2004). Not so cool Britannia. The role of the creative industries in economic development. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 67–77.Google Scholar
  30. Perulli, P. (2014). Milan in the age of global contract. Glocalism: Journal of Culture, Politics and Innovation, 3. Available at
  31. Perulli, P. (2016). The urban contract: Community, governance and capitalism. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Piore, M. J., & Sabel, C. F. (1984). The second industrial divide: Possibilities for prosperity. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  33. Pratt, A. C., Borrione, P., Lavanga, M., & D’Ovidio, M. (2012). International change and technological evolution in the fashion industry. In M. Agnoletti, A. Carandini, & W. Santagata (Eds.), Studi E Ricerche. Pontedera: Bandecchi & Vivaldi.Google Scholar
  34. Pratt, A. C., & Jeffcutt, P. (Eds.). (2011). Creativity, innovation and the cultural economy. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Raco, M. (1998). Assessing ‘institutional thickness’ in the local context: A comparison of Cardiff and Sheffield. Environment and Planning A, 30(6), 975–996. Google Scholar
  36. Ramella, F. (2017). The ‘enterprise of innovation’ in hard times: Corporate culture and performance in Italian high-tech companies. European Planning Studies, 25(11), 1954–1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sedini, C., Vignati, A., & Zurlo, F. (2013). Conceiving a (new) definition of hub for the development of a transnational network for creative companies. Presented at the The Idea of Creative City/The Urban Policy Debate, Cracow.Google Scholar
  38. Segre-Reinach, S. (2010). If you speak fashion you speak Italian: Notes on present day Italian fashion identity. Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, 1(2), 203–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Van Heur, B. (2009). The clustering of creative networks: Between myth and reality. Urban Studies, 46(8), 1531–1552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Virani, T. E., & Malem, W. (2015). Re-articulating the creative hub concept as a model for business support in the local creative economy: The case of Mare Street in Hackney (Creativeworks London Working Paper No. 12).Google Scholar
  41. White, N. (2000). Reconstructing Italian fashion: America and the development of the Italian fashion industry. Oxford and New York: Berg.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BariBariItaly
  2. 2.University of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations