Second-hand clothes from the West are big business in Africa. But while they are good for the African consumer, they are destroying local businesses.
This came across my Fb feed this morning along with an image of south african in "western Looking clothing". and a caption that not one african garment could be cited. Many would be surprised that African Factories produce western style clothing...
In a global economy what is an African aestethic. that is not to negate the problem
Sorry, I do not think that this article fully addresses the issue nor is look at the full repercussions of the recycled or DIY movement- Globally. That $10 dollar H&M dress has the same effect. The $7.00- $15.00 "African print dress" made in India has the same effect. Worse, many expect new handmade locally made to be delivered at the same pricepoint. It is easy for most of us to point to this ... when the truth is everyday choices made by most have longlasting effect.
It is a complex issue.
Whether or not we want to consider it the clothing in that picture may be made in Africa. Then again what many call "traditional" African prints are Dutch Wax prints.
The question is which comes first the love of foreign clothing or it's availability. These clothing are sort after not because they are cheap but because they are western in look... and many factories produce western looking clothing because there is a demand for it.
Look it may surprise many but most "african fabric" is not made in Africa with stories of local African mills abandoned for foreign product perceived as "better". The perception of value and understanding of "wealth' and "saving" is something that needs to be addressed across the board. With that said we are addressing the wrong issue.
The question is what is the health of that local sector and reversly how is African production affecting the manufacturing sector in western ports.
long term solutions
you cannot legislate loyalty or 'taste... To survive in the long haul the local industry needs to be competitive... as well as truly appreciated.
In 1985/86 the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago issues a ban on foreign made clothing. The local independent manufactures came together under a new group, CUTTAGE with the then Designers Association.At th time Trinidad had factories that were of exceptional standards and used by international manufacturers. These groups got together to raise the awareness of the quality of local clothing and address industry issues.
I remember negotiating for training in textiles, manufacturing and even the rights to the fabric bond needed for importation of fabric. leadership need to understand teh value of a sustainable industry... if they do not then the consumer will always select what they deem in their best interest. We held the first international trade show circa 1987 with international buyers in attendance. We understood then that the ban was a short term solution. When the ban was lifted there was a return to previous norms, but today the TT garment industry still thrives ... better than most local industry in the US.
Western culture affect what we desire and we cannot look at this without looking at the other aspect. the recent growth of african "designers' Influenced by Project Runway and america's Next Top model find many establishing companies and competing on a global scale often with western inspired clothing produced by skilled worker arriving ifrom Pakinstan and endered in African prints, from the Netherlands....it's a global economy