40 of 2021


            Newsletter No 40 / 22 October 2021                           

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Top 10 fashion brands in SA from January-July 2021

By Caroline Castanier and Rakhee Naik

The retail industry has no doubt experienced critical losses due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, as we return to the new normal, retailers are looking at innovative ways of capturing market share from competitors, grabbing the attention of a customer who is consistently confronted with brand messaging and sales techniques. Having a positive recommendation of a brand supports brand consideration; and while fashion trends are continually changing, it is important to reflect on strong performing brands in order to envisage future trends. For this reason, we look into fashion brands that performed the strongest in terms of recommendation from January-July 2021.

For the first half of 2021, we have Woolworths leading on recommendation, followed by Takealot and Mr Price. This supports brand consideration, with Woolworths and Mr Price strongly leading the market, translating to a cross-over of these two brands from mid-July 2021 with regards to purchase intent. On the other hand, while Edgars places 10th on recommendation, the brand ranks 6th on consideration noting the brands legacy strength in the market.

Those recommending Woolworths constitute a slightly older age group, with 4 f in 5 f customers supporting brands that have a moral message. This is encouraged by Woolworths’ business journey promoting sustainability of the environment, its people, and communities.

When delving deeper to further understand those recommending Takealot, we note that 9 in 10 customers are looking to purchase good quality products, with 42% noticing advertisements on the internet. In encouraging customers to utilise Takealot, it is also vital that customers are given the opportunity to subscribe to a loyalty programme that demonstrates value in their purchase.

Lastly, Mr Price accommodates for a younger age group of customers, with 27% aged up to 24 years old. Value is a key aspect for Mr Price customers, with almost 4 in 10 customers stating that they do not spend a lot on clothing, speaking to the fast fashion industry gaining traction in the South African market in recent years. This is reiterated by the brand earning 2nd place on value on the BrandIndex measurement tool. 7 in 10 customers recommending Mr Price also often talk about brand advertising they have seen, driving a need for billboard advertising that supports top of mind awareness for the brand.

Overall, while each brand speaks to different customer bases, it is vital that brands keep abreast of the shifting customer needs, over and above changing fashion trends, in order to remain relevant and drive brand recommendation and consideration.

* All data mentioned in the above infographics is significantly higher compared to the South African National Population


BrandIndex:  the real-time & continuous monitoring tool for brands and all the speeches dedicated to them. In South Africa, more than 100 brands are assessed on a daily basis via our panel of approximately 28,700 respondents.

Recommendation: Which of the following retailers would you RECOMMEND to a friend or colleague?

And which of the following retailers would you tell a friend or colleague to avoid?

Population:  South African adults with access to the internet

Period:  from 1 January 2021 to 31 July 2021

N ~ 4 141

Profiles:  segmentation and media planning YouGov tool. Data is collected daily, and YouGov Profiles makes it simple to find and understand the audience that matters most to you. It gives you the power to build and customize a portrait of your consumers’ entire world with unrivaled granularity. More than 9,000 variables are available in South Africa.

Dataset:  2021-08-08

Population:  South African adults with access to the internet who recommend Woolworths within the fashion sector

N ~ 1 596

Population:  South African adults with access to the internet who recommend Takealot.com within the fashion sector

N ~ 1 151

Population:  South African adults with access to the internet who recommend Mr. Price within the fashion sector

N ~ 1 160    Issued by: KLA

SAFW returns to the Mall of Africa this season

 By Thobile Mazibuko

South African Fashion Week (SAFW) is back at Mall Of Africa this October for the Autumn/Winter 2022 collections.

This season, 29 designers will unveil their collections at the fashion week from October 28-30, followed by the SAFW Trade Show in the Crystal Court at the Mall of Africa.

Some of the new designers who will be showcasing include the six finalists of the Scouting Menswear Competition. They are Marquin Sampson, Refuse Clothing Brand, Saint Vuyo, Umsweko, Vanklan and Boyde.

The trade show will exhibit 40 designers of men’s and womenswear as well as accessories ranging from footwear and handbags to costume jewellery and millinery from October 31 – November 1.

And then, from December 3-5, designers will showcase their work at the SAFW Pop Up Shop, where fashionistas can purchase exclusive garments and directly interact with the designers.

Lucilla Booyzen, director of SAFW, says participating designers are increasingly adopting the circular fashion system required to transition towards a more sustainable and cleaner fashion order.

“This is evident throughout all the collections, be it the new seasonal ranges by established designers or the entries for our New Talent or Scouting Menswear competitions with feature principles such as waste reduction, low impact materials, longevity and recyclability as well as a greater emphasis on higher quality and timeless design,” says Booyzen.

SAFW will also host a digital media conference on October 13, and on October 20, they will formally introduce the participating designers to the public.

Tickets for the live shows at the Mall of Africa are now out.  IOL

US fashion contaminates Africa’s water

 By Pascalinah Kabi

Trickle-down: Water from the Katse Dam (above) in Lesotho supplies South Africa, but its clothing factories are causing widespread pollution and ill health

From rivers that turn blue with dye pollution to dangerous working conditions, Lesotho is paying a heavy price for its textile industry, whose garments its factories produce end up on the shelves of global fashion brands.

The pollution they produce does not travel quite as far: people living downriver lament the contamination of their fresh water supplies, while workers at the factories are perhaps most affected. One man spoke of the “unbearable dusty conditions” and chemicals from denim dye that have left him with chronic breathing problems.

His health and the environmental contamination putting Lesotho’s people at risk are part of a wider crisis growing across the continent. In July, advocacy group Water Witness International released a report that looked at the water cost of Africa’s booming textile industry. Titled How Fair is Fashion’s Water Footprint?, the report found pollution at factories in five countries: Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar.

It quotes Sareen Malik, the executive secretary of the African Civil Society Network for Water and Sanitation, as saying that “untreated effluent from textile factories is killing our rivers — there is no life downstream.”

This growth in the textile industry has a lot to do with the African Growth and Opportunity Act or Agoa.

This 2000 trade Act gave factory plants in Africa duty-free access to the American fashion market.

Water Witness says top American fashion brands have sourced or continue to source apparel from factories linked to water contamination in these five countries.

In Lesotho, the report claims that clothing industries cause water pollution in the nearby towns of Maseru and Maputsoe and that poor solid waste management by the industry remains a major problem in the country’s river systems.

In the report, a senior government official said the pollution was causing tension between industry and residents. “Communities complain about the smell of water and health issues for livestock and people living close by.”

But the small country has few natural resources, besides water, and has bet on the textile industry. It is now the second biggest employer, after the government, with 30 000 workers.

At Formosa Textiles, Rethabile Molise (not his real name — he requested anonymity for fear of losing his job) said he began experiencing chest-related problems in 2017, three years after he was employed. He blames the dusty conditions and chemicals used to dye denim for his chronic chest condition. The company’s website says it employs 1 200 workers, and has machines responsible for “denim dyeing”, among others.

A job or good health

Each day at 7am, Molise enters the factory and changes from his regular clothes into gear that is meant to protect him from the dust. But the pollution is often too much.

During a shift earlier this month, Molise said, the factory suddenly filled with the acrid smell of chemicals. This signalled the disposing of effluent from the firm’s machinery to make way for new chemicals used to dye thread for the production of jeans for top American clothing brands.

A textile worker labels items in a clothing factory in Maseru, Lesotho. Lesotho’s clothing industry, the biggest employer in the country, is making a comeback after being beaten down by Chinese competition, boosted by orders from Gap Inc. and Walmart Stores Inc. (Photo by Pieter Bauermeister/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“The toxic liquid waste from the machines goes straight into manholes adjacent to the machines and can even be found on the floor,” Molise said. “The smell is unbearably strong.”

He said the factory provided each worker with just four elastic masks a month. A black fabric mask is given out once a year, he said. “The dust and chemical waste are just too strong for me, and sometimes I wear all four nosebags at the same time. I went to a doctor and he gave me a note for work explaining that I have chest-related problems and that it is advisable for me to work in a much less dusty room,” Molise said. “But they just moved me to another dusty section.”

The factory’s manager and spokesperson, Ricky Chang, directed all questions to the Lesotho National Development Corporation. He did say that “we have a grievances system internally where people can refer their concern and get a response from management”.

The corporation did not respond to questions, nor did the national water and health ministries, despite the article being held for an extra week to give them time to do so.

A blue river

Downriver from Formosa Textiles flows a stream villagers have named Mabolou — mother of blue, in Sesotho. Locals say the river used to be clean and colourless.

Marethabile Lenkoane, who has lived in the area for all of her 56 years, remembers how things were before the factories arrived, bringing their dyes with them.

“I used to collect water from Mabolou to water my plants and wash our clothes,” she says. “But today, I can’t; the water is blue.”

The Mabolou flows into the Caledon River and into South Africa, a critical water source for that country, with water from Lesotho bringing life to the dry interior of the Eastern Cape.

But, despite the importance of clean water, the Water Witness report noted that “landlocked Lesotho is projected to become ‘water stressed’ by 2025”.

Like factory worker Molise, Lenkoane has chest problems she says are from breathing chemically contaminated air. “Coughing is just part of my life now. Unfortunately for me and my family, we don’t have money to move away from this dangerous place.”   M&G

                                                                                                                Did you know……..

The most talked about Oscars dresses of all time

Barbra Streisand, 1969

Barbra made history tying with Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress, but that wasn’t the only memorable moment of the night. The Funny Girl star apparently didn’t realize the bright lights would turn her sequined pant suit transparent.

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