I know you will agree with me when I say our fashion industry is growing but growing at a very slow pace. Everyone is hiding in their own small corner and doing their own thing as long as it keeps their business going. I have heard all the many talks and business of fashion seminars over the years but it seems things are not connecting in our beloved country Ghana when it comes to fashion and that is disheartening.
We may look all beautiful outside which will attract foreigners into our country especially in this “Year of Return” but after all is said and done, the realities of what our industry actually look like will be glaring at us. From production, education, creative, marketing, promotions and media, we need to find synergy in all these to be valuable and influential. How are we documenting all these major things happening and who is in charge of connecting all these sectors to ensure that we are all collectively involved.
Let’s talk about fashion media platforms Where do you visit if you want undiluted fashion industry news, latest fashion trends, and events in Ghana? How many platforms can you name today that have high level of fashion content that you can click to read all things about Fashion in Ghana from the latest news about designers, collaborations, collection, interviews and features that highlight works of other creatives including stylists, photographers, models, creative directors, makeup artists and all others connected to the value chain. For which could serve as a resource platform for many young ones especially students to learn from. Without these fashion media platforms, even I as a PR person won’t be able to secure features for clients. Establishing as many vibrant fashion media will support in promoting the works of other creatives. I believe our media must also offer more and something I see lacking so much. What about a database where you can find a list of designers and other creatives and their specialties.
Let’s talk about fashion shows & events Tell me how many fashion events we have and how many have the support and backing to become a nationally recognized industry show. I’ll try to name a few consistent ones such as Glitz Africa Fashion Week, Accra Fashion Week, Ghana Menswear Week, Style Lounge Weekend, Kumasi Fashion Week amongst others. I will say these ones may have done their best but they still need a lot more to give value for money to designers and participants. How many companies are ready to support these organizers to curate contents that will benefit both the company and guests. I’ve heard disappointing comments from many participating designers over the years. Their key phrase “I didn’t sell as much as I thought I will” or “I didn’t get buyers” are statements that are quite disturbing because soon, most designers will lose interest in participating at these shows. Whereas in other parts of the world, even very close by is Lagos Fashion Week and GT Bank Fashion Weekend which is thriving and having people travel far and near to attend. As for the exhibitions and fairs, the least said the better.
Let’s talk about Fashion TV Shows Few years back, we saw the likes of Fashion 101, Fashion Coast, and TV stations like Viasat1 promoting contents around fashion in Ghana. But guess where they all are now? Today, the only fashion related TV Show that has managed to still promote fashion related content is Fashiongh TV. Without these shows, how do designers get noticed and what are some of the avenues for students to learn apart from the classroom and direct internship opportunities.
Let’s talk about Fashion Magazines This is another murky space. Fashion magazines have struggled to survive in our part of the world. We’ve seen magazines pop into the scene and soon disappear after an issue or two. The only magazine that has stayed through it till now is Glitz Africa Magazine. In the absence of these, how do designers get their works featured, or how do models get the spotlight, how do we document the works of the creatives in the fashion industry. Magazines play a very significant role in any recognized fashion industry. From Vogue, Marie Claire, Instyle, Allure, Vanity Fair and the list goes on. What do we have? Your answer is as good as mine.
And now, let’s talk about the fashion industry Where is that data about our industry? What is the state of Ghana’s Fashion Industry and what’s the value? There are still other sectors I haven’t highlighted in this writeup. We’ve heard the likes of Fashion Council Ghana, Board of Fashion Council and many others but we are not familiar with their modus operandi. I will urge them and any other organization set out to work towards providing a foundation for rigorous in-depth research and analysis of our fashion industry which will focus on issues and opportunities driving this sector and find ways for everyone within the value chain to connect and benefit from. I believe this will inform all stakeholders if we are worth investing in or not.
This article was originally published in the Business and Financial Times Newspaper on 5/12/2019