DC Econ UNPLUGGED Lanxi He, Research Analyst Intern, Creative Investment. Georgetown University

On January 31st, the Office of The Deputy Mayor For Planning And Economic Development presented DC Econ UNPLUGGED, which connected fashion, arts, entertainment, housing, transportation and others sectors to DC’s economic development. Event attendees shared opinions, thoughts and suggestions, and also enjoyed wonderful food and music.

First, a panel consisting of DC's fashion leaders - Kristopher Johnson-Hoyle, Editor, Chairman of the Mayor's Commission on Fashion, Arts and Events; Deidre Jefferies, Owner/Creative Director of ESPION Atelier, CFAE Commissioner; Mariessa Terrell, Fashion Attorney, Howard Law School IP Law Clinic Supervising Attorney, and CFAE Commissioner; Roquois Clark, Co-Creative Director, District of Fashion Runway Show, DowntownDC BID - talked about the impact fashion entrepreneurs have  on DC’s economy and ecosystem.

A second panel - Ernest Chrappah, Interim Director of DCRA; Shawn Townsend, Director of Nightlife and Culture; Fred Moosally, Director of ABRA; Jeff Marootian, Director of DDOT - discussed how DC’s nightlife is related to DC’s economy. Nightlife has always been seen as qustionable, even as something bad. Some perceive nightlife as being all about drugs and strip clubs.

A report by Patrick Sisson cites organizations that support nightlife-based industries. "Nightlife adds value and human capital," said Mirik Milan, Amsterdam’s Night Mayor. “Investing in the community, and in these subcultures, is now popular and important.” Other organizations point out that we need to focus more on how creative nightlife contributes to a creative city.

At the DC Econ UNPLUGGED event, Director of Nightlife and Culture Townsend also talked about why nightlife is important and how it generates revenue for the city. Mr. Chrappah discussed creating and maintaining a safe nightlife environment.

By the conclusion of the event, the panelists gave me a better understanding about how nontraditional services and resources grow DC’s economy.

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