The world's fashion capitals: London, Paris... and Newcastle

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The Independent Online

Newcastle rivals the creativity of world fashion capitals including London, Paris and New York, according to a leading American magazine.

Newsweek says the city, along with its neighbour Gateshead, has stolen the limelight in a joint bid for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008.

New developments such as the Millennium Bridge and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, alongside the Angel of the North, have captured the world's imagination.

Gateshead council is credited with spearheading the Millennium Bridge project and pushing through the transformation of the former Baltic Mill and is currently masterminding a multi-million-pound music centre on the banks of the Gateshead Quays.

Newsweek's timely input coincided with visits from the judging panel for the Capital of Culture bid and will have strengthened the joint effort to gain the title.

The magazinedescribes the area as "new centres of culture and vitality". It features the two Northern strongholds as the only UK towns and cities in its piece, alongside Austin, Texas, Tijuana in Mexico, Cape Town in South Africa, Zhongguancun in China, Antwerp in Belgium and Marseille in France.

Mick Henry, a Gateshead councillor, said: "It is fantastic news that one of the world's most well-respected news and current affairs magazines has given Gateshead and Newcastle this stunning accolade.

"Regeneration that started with the National Garden Festival and The Angel of the North, and then on to developments like the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Baltic, the Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead, is not just something that local people have noticed and benefited from, but something that has been recognised and applauded across the whole world. But our bid with Newcastle to be awarded that cultural title is much, much more than just about those major developments.

"It is about getting tens of thousands of people across the region involved in arts, sport, culture and learning every day, benefiting from the work that ourselves and Newcastle are doing to make the region the cultural capital of Europe.

"When Newcastle-Gateshead is hopefully awarded the European Capital of Culture 2008 title, it will mean that the region can expect millions of extra visitors, generating up to £700m of extra income for the area, and creating up to 17,000 jobs for local people. And that is something that will be of benefit to everyone who lives, works or studies in the region."