In the face of technological advancements and globalization. The African Fashion arena can tap into the global market worth trillions of dollars. AfCFTA is an opportunity to link the supply within the continent as it bridges the global market. With social media, new business models, advanced manufacturing, and growing populations the fashion industry has the potential to be the spunk of the African economy.
Africa has the raw materials or the potential to avail them, I am sorry to say this but African has skilled cheap labor and by labor, I am talking millions of jobs. Sales associate, Merchandiser, Stylist, Public relations specialist, Inventory planner, Account manager, Retail buyer Fashion designer, Graphic designer, Textile designer, Creative director. Development-related careers for example Product developer, Technical designer, Quality assurance manager, and Production manager. All these are jobs in the industry and I have not even mentioned the ones I talked about in yesterday’s post. It’s a no-brainer that fabrics and items of clothing are a crucial part of everyday life and an important sector in the global economy. Every industry from car-making, to military and space travel, that’s the scope of the fashion industry.
One of the sectors that have to be properly married with the fashion sector is academia, we need as the continent to appreciate and value fashion schools. Business School has to be linked with fashion to develop models that pave the way into the future. At every stage, a job is created. That’s where the lobby for the best policies can come in as politicians are taken hostage to cater to the industry.
There’s also the benefit of exportation sales to other parts of the world if the fashion products are popular and in demand globally which can be achieved if the best fashion trend watchers are in place. Exportation base means a strong currency against foreign currencies causing an economic upswing. There is raising the profile of the continent in terms of its creativity and competitive advantage which in turn can lead to more direct foreign investment by other bigger economies and multinational companies. With all the fashion weeks if well packaged then tourism can be on the hook too.
On the social side, fashion can be a Zeitgeist, the sector is used to reflect ideological shifts in our society. Zeitgeist is the mood or spirit of a specific era in history as displayed by the beliefs and ideas of that time. So, how does this relate to fashion? These days we have T-shirts that communicate everything that happens. As much as the events of the day define fashion to those to come it will the fashion to define what was. The fashion industry doesn’t just contribute to society by allowing us to express ourselves, our creativity and our beliefs to the world but it shapes the world of politics. From party colors to what diplomats put on for specific meetings. The black and blue and the white shirts at the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council mean things.
For now, we have to utilize economies of scale to beat the Chinese and take our market first. Then we can write the real African fashion story from our viewpoint.