Newsletter No. 38 / 9 October 2020
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#DoBizZA: Fulfilling the potential of South African fashion
By Lucilla Booyzen
Lucilla Booyzen CEO SA Fashion Week
The Italian fashion industry is a prime example of how a well-coordinated and government-supported fashion industry can blossom into a major economic force. Generating €66.6bn in 2019, it is among the top industries in Italy.
In the same breath, a local, SA designer-led fashion industry also has the very real potential to make a significant contribution to national GDP.
This has also been abundantly demonstrated by other leading fashion countries such as France, the UK and the USA, with other countries following suit with equal success.
This is the reason I started SA Fashion Week (SAFW) back in 1997.
The role of the large international retail chains stifles and swamps this identity and there is a definite trend that is rapidly moving away from mass, global, fast fashion, opening new opportunities for development that pairs the strengths of small (SME) manufacturing businesses in tandem with local design talent.
It is the role of Government to recognise this and create the necessary strategies to bolster our local designer-led industry, as is the case in many countries where fashion has become a major contributor to the national economy. We all have to wear clothes.
The strength of our designers lies in the fact that they all have their own following, generated by exposure through SAFW and social media. This gave them the autonomy, during lockdown, to reach out to their clientele and supply base without having to rely on 3rd party retailers to do so. It also enabled them to survive lockdown and maintain continuity of their operations.
This fact is changing the retail landscape from large supply bases to smaller social media and e-commerce linked enterprises. The move is towards slow fashion and a different mindset.
As a result of Covid, I also started reaching out and connecting with a variety of international parties who are excited by our initiatives and are showing renewed interest in our SA designers.
Over the years, SAFW has been paving the way for small retailers and boutiques to support SA designers. We do this via trade shows, designer pop-up events and other initiatives that widen the designer exposure.
Michael Clampett, heading up The Mall of Africa, is a visionary in the property industry. He is able to identify connections and collaborations outside of traditional linkages, and is passionate about developing local talent and skills and providing opportunities through a physical property footprint for entrepreneurs.
From 1 to 3 November 2020, SAFW will be hosting our wholesale trade platform, open to buyers and boutiques nationwide to view and buy SA designer garments. Vodacom has also undertaken to introduce designers to their VIP clients which will happen during the SAFW Pop Up Shop from the 26 to 27 November.
Bolstering local production
South African departmental stores and mainstream retailers have largely neglected to engage and harness the potential of supporting and developing local design talent. This could be seen as short-sighted and favouring cheap foreign imports over building SA brands. The large international chains that are currently dominating our market must also commit to supporting local SA production.
A holistic approach by Government regarding the industry should also include our very strong and experienced textile manufacturing industry which has decades of experience behind it but which has been severely compromised by cheap imports with little protection from Government.
The eyes of the world, more than ever before, are on Africa and more specifically, South Africa. We find ourselves in the very real position of being able to offer a fresh perspective. SA design breaks the mould of fast fashion and the SA designers, those of whom are moving toward slow fashion, hold tremendous appeal.
In short, all our designers have the potential to attract a new and sustainable interest in SA design and we have to do everything in our power to support and encourage them.
After all, no one escapes fashion; “we consume fashion like we consume electricity without realising the power of fashion.”
Ethical and African-inspired handbags from local brand, WeAllShareRoots
WeAllShareRoots is an African-inspired handbag brand. Their ethically-made bags are produced in partnership with small organizations in townships and family-owned SMEs in Cape Town. WeAllShareRoots’ bags contribute to positive change, sustainable development and poverty alleviation. They are also the first brand in Africa to use Piñatex® (a vegan natural leather alternative), providing unique and trendy fashion pieces made from natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty free material.
Each bag is a unique creation, mixing local genuine leather or Piñatex® and African inspired prints (shweshwe, wax print, etc.). WeAllShareRoots’ (WASR) bags are original fashion pieces which bring together African colours, modern designs and respect for our planet and its inhabitants.
WASR provides income and employment to underprivileged communities, through the production of their handbags. For the sewing and the assembly of the bags, they collaborate with a very small CMT, based in SeaWinds/Lavender Hill townships, facing together all the obstacles of non-conventional partnerships and fighting the lack of means.
To them, collaborations are key in continuing to grow and develop a brand and they regularly tap into the pool of incredible textile talents in South Africa. In this spirit of solidarity and support between local brands, they launched a joyful and super-limited range of clutches and coin purses, created with Shine Shine. This brand from Cape Town is known worldwide for its bold Afro-funky prints. And in a very different style, they also released a collection of purses made in collaboration with Barrydale Handweavers. As their name suggests, they are one of the last handweaving factory in the country. Both ranges also illustrates their circular philosophy where no fabrics or trims go to waste, as they worked from offcuts.
The collaborations are available online:
To shop online and get free delivery visit www.hellopretty.co.za/weallshareroots.
Cotton Market Report
Cotton South Africa plays an important role in gathering, maintaining and disseminating information about the cotton industry. We produce regular reports about sector developments and the cotton economy. This is a valuable resource for anyone interested in investing or participating in the cotton sector in South Africa.
Ethiopia’s IPDC aims to earn $400m from export sector
Despite the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopia’s Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC) has planned to generate $400 million from foreign trade this fiscal by involving 36 domestic investors in the parks and generating 45,000 jobs. Several textile and garment companies are also part of the IPDC industrial parks.
The Semera Industrial Park will be completed and operations will start there this fiscal. In addition, more than 31,000 homes will be built for employees. Homes are under construction in Bole Lemi 1 industrial park, according to marketing and communication office head at the corporation Derbie Debele.
Mekelle Industrial Park is one of the major parks that has started full operation and has shown encouraging development in garment and textile production. Three textile and garment companies joined the park three months ago and have already started pre-production work, according to a media report from east Africa.
These companies will have a capacity of producing textile and garment products worth $4 million and will create job opportunities for 500. Two of these companies are owned by Chinese investors and the third by Ethiopian ones.
In the last fiscal, IPDC had earned $165 million from exporting industrial items. F2F
Did you know……..
Women at war
Women’s fashions in the 1940s were utilitarian and pragmatic—skirts rose from 1930s hemlines as fabric became scarce, and boxy, broad-shouldered suit-jackets gave women a masculine silhouette as they headed into the workplace to take jobs left by men away at war.
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