Move to increase SA-produced clothing after sector hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic
Cape Town - A plan that was formulated last year for the clothing, textile, footwear and leather industry is being discussed further to ensure that the commitment to increase the proportion of locally produced fashion sold in retail stores from 44% to 65% by 2030 is achieved.
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Executive Oversight Committee and the executives of major apparel and textile retailers recently discussed their master plan for the sector since the Covid-19 crisis had introduced many setbacks.
They have decided to focus on opportunities over the upcoming months that will allow for the localisation of products to be bolstered in retail stores.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has made the argument for localisation even more urgent and important. The key issue for our economy now is the return of domestic demand. We need to stimulate the economy via deeper localisation efforts.”
South African couture designer Jacques LaGrange said: “Many designers and textile manufacturers are struggling at the moment, and this should not be the case for the year 2020. I’m really sad to say a lot of designers and textile workers (to my knowledge) threw in the towel and will not make a comeback. I do believe a lot of designers and industry friends were struggling way before Covid-19 and were trying to compete against the bigger brands, which was a continuous losing battle.”
LaGrange said the 45% locally produced fashion being sold in stores was questionable for the sector.
LaGrange said: “There is a ‘forgotten’ manufacturing generation that can come back and teach the new generation what they need to know. The government should really invest in the companies (textile and manufacturing) old and new that can and will make a difference.”
Production volumes have declined by 30%. Despite this, stakeholders expressed their optimism for the remainder of the year as they work towards increasing employment by 120 000 jobs in the near future.
Foschini Group chief executive Anthony Thunström said: “We are now at the stage where we absolutely have to focus for both the good of our industry but also for the South African economy and our future.”