African Fashion: South African clothing retailers are reducing their reliance on Chinese imports.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICAN — Major retail chains all around the country are increasingly putting labels on clothing with images of the South African flag. It’s an endeavor to support the textile and apparel industry in the nation.
According to the government, approximately 60% of the textiles sold by South African merchants are imported, with China accounting for the majority of these imports.
Retailers who have endorsed a government master plan to assist small companies in their community claim that there are more advantages besides merely employment development.
“Being able to have the goods created locally means that you can actually adapt to what the client requires more efficiently, which is really what any shop wants to move towards more quickly response,” said Hazel Pillay, general manager of retailer Pick & Pay Clothing.
Pick n Pay Clothing is one of the merchants boosting its supplies of locally based goods from 28% in 2019 to 40% in the present, along with Woolworth’s, Mr. Price, and Truworth’s. Following the worldwide trade disruptions brought on by the coronavirus epidemic as well as record unemployment, the change is currently gathering momentum.
A young designer named Katekani Moreku who was brought in to help with the project said, “It gave me a lot of attention and provided me a lot of publicity. I believe that it will have a significant impact that will increase the number of jobs for all generations in the times we currently live in when there is a very high rate of unemployment.
In 2020, according to Moreku’s estimation, his partnership with Pick n Pay generated roughly 1,000 jobs throughout the manufacturing and digital marketing sectors.
The goal of the South African government is to create 121,000 new textile jobs by 2030, and this is what they want to achieve.
More funding is required.
However, merchants warn it will necessitate spending on entrepreneur assistance and skill-training, including Pick n Pay’s Pillay.
“Yes, the talents were easily accessible before the 2000s, “added Pillay. “And as [manufacturing] shifted to China, investments in machinery and talent development all but vanished. However, I believe that if we looked at the state of the local economy in another 10 years, we would see a revival in some of that type of locally produced goods.
The retailer wants to source 60% of all textile products locally during the next five years, so that growth is required.
However, analysts caution that simply establishing quotas and targets won’t be sufficient to revive the business.
According to Dawie Roodt, chief economist for financial services company Efficient Group, “the government needs to become much more efficient if you want to have more investments in textile and more localization in textile, or any industry for that matter. Make sure, for instance, that the infrastructure is in good working order, that investing in South Africa is safe, and similar things.
Local manufacturers are unable to produce and deliver goods due to frequent power outages and deteriorating rails.
Additionally, there are also real-world obstacles to reducing the $3 billion trade deficit between China and South Africa.
“Remember that they have scale economies, “added Roodt. “South Africa is a small nation in comparison to China. Therefore, I don’t think we’ll be able to compete very well.
But for aspiring designers, even a slight improvement in the regional economy offers promise for the future.
Content courtesy of VOA & NFH