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Business News of Wednesday, 16 June 2021


Coronavirus: Fashion designers struggling to survive as ban on social gatherings still in force

The fashion design industry was hard hit by the Coronavirus The fashion design industry was hard hit by the Coronavirus

Smallholders of fashion design businesses are finding it hard to make ends meet amid restrictions on social gatherings.

Hit hard by the pandemic, they struggle in their own ways to keep the business going.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, earlier this year, reaffirmed a ban on social gatherings including weddings, funerals, church services.

The measure was aimed at reducing the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Presently, the situation has allowed for lesser restrictions and hence few activities for small-scale tailors and seamstresses.

They have told UniversNews that although the current situation is better, it has been challenging to live off the occasional orders.

For these fashion enablers, the restrictions mean less income, scarce fabrics, and fewer avenues to learn and showcase new trends as well.

“It is not easy for me, because I used to sow five three a day, but now just one. Our work is for occasions like church, funeral, but now they have all be put off. Now just, maybe once in a while, somebody would come to sow for church, but funeral they don’t come,” says Emmanuel, a young tailor with his business around Haatso, in Accra.

The slowdown in activities, and drop in revenue has forced some to draw down on their savings.

“It has affected our finances Because if you have anything at the bank from 2019, every day you have to go the bank; business is not coming, you have to go to the bank to take the money,” comments Nana, a seamstress with years of experience.

Besides the financial strain the situation imposes on them, smallholders in the fashion industry also have to grapple with the ever-increasing prices of fabrics and other essential materials.

“If you go to market everything is increased, the lining, the material. Even if somebody gives you money to go and buy fabric, everything is expensive,” said Naomie, a young seamstress that is taking her first step in the fashion design market.

These economic actors are, however, not giving up without a fight.

They strive in their own way to earn a living and keep the business going, as well.

While some hold to their routines, others resort to innovative marketing strategies. “Any customer I get, I handle the person well… Maybe the budget of the person is 200 Cedis for a dress for a wedding or something. If he/she doesn’t have money, I have to also manage and find the best fabric something that is unique so that when the person puts it on, he will also appreciate it and come next time,” Nana disclosed.

Others like Naomie open their shops every day and embark on the personal promotion of their products.

“If there is nothing, at times, I sit there I find a paper and do something on my own to create something new. And at times you can see somebody, I just call the person, maybe a child [and ask him to tell his mummy that if she has something she should give it to you so that you bring it] and I will sew it for you. At the end of the day, if they have some money, I will ask how much they want to give me,” Naomie added.

Their major cry to authorities is for help with the regulation of the prices of fabrics and other essential materials while hoping that restrictions will soon be fully lifted in the few days ahead.