LOS ANGELES — California’s creative economy continues to be buoyed by the entertainment and fashion industries with Los Angeles County maintaining a solid hold in that conversation, according to new study results.
Officials with the city, researchers and executives across creative industries gathered Friday morning in downtown Los Angeles to hear the results of Otis College of Art & Design’s annual “The Creative Economy” report. The study, put together by research and consulting firm Beacon Economics LLC, provides a pulse on the state’s creative industries, broken down into the five categories of architecture and similar categories, entertainment and digital media, fashion, fine arts and performing arts and creative goods and products.
“This moment in particular articulates our potential when we think broadly about the role the creative sector plays,” said Mark Ridley-Thomas, supervisor for the second district on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, in his opening remarks.
The supervisor went on to say the combined creative industries are at a “transformational moment.”
The aggregate of those businesses comprising the creative sector account for 2.6 million jobs in the state, helping to generate $604.9 billion each year, according to the report. Los Angeles County accounted for 864,958 of those jobs, with $207.8 billion generated each year.
Not surprisingly, entertainment and digital media companies represented the bulk of the overall creative industry within Los Angeles County in 2017 with companies such as Amazon Studios, Netflix, Warner Brothers, Hulu, HBO, Snapchat and others filling out the landscape here.
Fashion within Los Angeles County came in second, with one out of every five creatives working in the sector at companies such as Los Angeles Apparel, Forever 21 and Guess. The report noted the county generates 24 percent more fashion jobs than that of New York City.
Fashion, while still large, continues to contract with 11,000 jobs in the county lost between the 2010 and 2017 period as manufacturing moves overseas, the report said.
Still, now more than ever, Los Angeles in particular continues to be the hotbed of where most of what Beacon Economics executive director of economic research Robert Kleinen called an “intermingling” of industries.
That’s mirrored in the upcoming contemporary art fair Frieze, which kicks off Feb. 15 and marks the first time the event is taking place on the West Coast. Frieze’s arrival comes after events in more recent years that have seen art, fashion, food and music taking collaborative steps seen as helping bolster the broader conversation around the arts and cultural scenes in the greater Los Angeles area.
Bettina Korek, Frieze Los Angeles executive director, turned to 2007 as a key point when the Takashi Murakami exhibition was unveiled at LACMA. The collaboration between Murakami and Louis Vuitton saw limited-edition place mats from the collection ending on eBay. Meanwhile, retail, fashion, music and art mixed for that exhibition with a Vuitton store at the museum and Kanye West kicking off the opening.
“It was the first time an art museum event felt like a Hollywood event,” Korek said.
She added that the perception of collaborating and the cross-pollination across industries shifted during that time.
“It was also the beginning of a turning point where these collaborations that were a taboo in the art world…now they’re a sign of you’ve arrived,” she said.
In more recent years, The Broad opening in 2015 and Hauser & Wirth bowing the following year, both in downtown, have continued the momentum. Hauser & Wirth, in particular, once again took the notion of the merging of industries with not just the gallery, but also retail, food and urban farming.
Fast-forward now to Feb. 15: the timing of Frieze between the Grammys and Oscars was strategic and continues to evolve ideas around creative industries’ continued intermingling, Korek said: “This idea of putting art on the map between music and film I think is really powerful.”