Fashion has the power to bring about changes that can have a substantial impact on our economic and social lives. A key element in the success of the Creative Fashion Design Industry within a country is the “luxury, ready-to-wear” collections created by designers. This creates wealth and employment for the full value chain, from the textile designer right through to the service sector.
We need to recognize the myriad of ways in which the fashion industry impacts both society and the economy. The support and development of local designers and manufacturers forms a crucial step in the development of an industry that plays a noteworthy role in the economy at large.
In the Creative Fashion Industry all designers must invent their own work and at the same time their own enterprise. They must design and create clothes for everyday life and not only for important occasions which are increasingly few and far between.
Highlighting the impact that fashion industries have on economies across the globe, Giorgio Armani, one of the most affluent designers, has amassed a fortune of $ 9.9 billion with the Armani brand. Ralph Lauren is currently positioned at $ 7 Billion, and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana at $ 1, 65 billion each.
The German textile merchant, Karl Albrecht and his family have accumulated the worth of $ 19.3 billion through the platform of fashion and retail. Even as a relatively “unknown” merchant to industry-outsiders, it is evident that the magnitude of scope within the industry is huge, and the affect it has on a country’s economy is significant.
Primarily, we need to create a culture of excellence, whereby design reflects the wellbeing of the wearer, and the high-quality in each garment cultivates the quality of everyday life.
Vivienne Westwood, renowned British Designer and outspoken advocate of conscious consumption and human rights, embraces a mantra which SA Fashion Week identifies with – “buy less, choose well.” It is this sentiment that raises awareness for the environment and encourages consumers to select well-made, high quality pieces that last a lifetime. We are living in an age when needs have been dispensed with. In all aspects of life, we are confronted with multiple choices. This means that we must be more discerning when it comes to choosing quality, and in doing so, engaging with our surroundings through understanding and knowledge.
African designers are talented and capable, and as such have the right to a place in the history of culture and fashion. This talent, however, exists in a “single client-oriented” way and that is what we need to turn around – designers need to become aware of the power of the middle luxury market, and how they can tap into that without losing their individuality and originality.
We need to learn that a precise, unbiased and inquisitive eye is just as important as breaking with the past to create something new. Designing a specific product, creating new identities constantly season by season is becoming more and more important. After all, brands need continuity, while fashion means constant change.
Designers have the power to not only lead the country in Fashion Design but to create thousands of jobs. Designers need to take responsibility for their own future and succeed their businesses.