Over the past few years, the growth rate of Ghana’s fashion and garments industry appears to be decreasing in size. However, a number of strategic measures are being taken to ensure a substantial growth rate in the sector.
To boost opportunities in the sector, the African Fashion Fund (AFF) – an organization that empowers Fashion Designers in Africa and the diaspora, recently announced a new official partnership with Parsons School of Design in the USA to establish their first long-term, presence in Africa which Ghana is expected to benefit.
The fund was established with the hope of supporting Africa designers establish themselves across the world and give access to the disadvantaged in assisting them with a world-class education. This step is expected to boost the sector as much attention has not been paid in harnessing the opportunities in the industry by subsequent governments.
This partnership seeks to benefit Africa Designers in a three strategic manner.
The first component deals with fashion systems design education certificate program that provides students unique and affordable access to world-class education; the second component will be an opportunity to economically empower underprivileged women with artisanal training and lastly developing fashion education incubator to establish a strong foundation for the long-term growth of African Fashion.
The program intends to foster international internship opportunities to facilitate the long-term success of students and provide business assistance to upcoming designers.
This measure is seen as encouraging in the sense that the fashion and garment industry is plagued with a number of challenges including inadequate access to finance; lack of raw materials as well as low purchase in the markets.
With the coming into effect the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement together with substantial boost in the fashion and garment industry, Ghana has the opportunity to boost the sector and reverse the negative growth rates it has recorded in the sector recently.
Ghana’s fashion and garment industry recorded growth rate of 15.1 percent in 2008, but has since dropped to 0.8 and 0.3 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Subsequently, the sector recorded a negative figure of -1.4 percent in 2016. What this implies is that the sector has been declining in what is proving to be a sustained recession.
Currently, the value of global fashion industry is estimated to be around US$2.4 trillion, with an annual growth of 5.5 percent. Africa accounts for below 5 percent of this value, while Asia and the USA share 80 percent of the market.
Steps taken by fashion schools
As the population grows, new and emerging needs arise and young people are finding creative ways to make use of Ghanaian fabrics as a way of creating employment. Examples of such fashion schools are Joyce Ababio college of fashion and design, Abbi creation, BlueCrest college- school of fashion and design and among others.
Ghanaian fashion industry has evolved in the past years. However, the youth lately are finding creative means of creating employment for themselves in a competitive environment as presently Ghana discovered young-led enterprises over the years with the introduction of fashion design schools in Ghana.
These fashion schools have provided opportunities for a number of prospective Ghanaian youths in the industry which had in turn served as a learning platform in a move to upgrading their skill.
Due to the relative surge of opportunities in the fashion industry, a crop of Ghanaian fashion designers in the country are gradually positioning themselves to take advantages of the opportunities in the sector with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
Accra has mostly served as a nexus for trading of varied forms of dress and the traditional African wear in the country including the Ghanaian smock and the kente cloth.
Smock is made from the northern part of the country as sales recorded to be booming in the industry.
Kente and Smock have been in existence for as long as the Ghanaian fashion has existed. For instance, they come with variety of patterns, colours and specifically designed for the “taste” of both the local and the international markets.
Quite recently Ghana has been a rich source of artistic inspiration for many parts of the world. Many Ghanaian fashion designers are moving from not only designing clothes, but to these classy styles of designing exclusively with just a piece of a fabric.
Competition in the global fashion industry is so rife that the survival of modern fashion now depends around the culture that are constantly exerting greater influence in the sector. The fashion and garment industry is capable of fetching a substantial revenue, however, the support in the attempt to surging production appears to be minimal.