The Chief Executive of CROSS Fashion House, Elijah Nyamekye Amoako, is calling for government attention and support for the fashion industry in Ghana.
He said Ghana government must begin to look at ways to make fashion entrepreneurs.
He said, over time, governments have failed to recognize the huge potentials the fashion design industry has for the economic development of the country, hence very liitle attention is placed on what they do.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Elijah Nyamekye Amoako popularly called CROSS, said it is time governments see the fashion business as a cultural industry thereby making fashion designers or fashionpreneurs eligible to receive any arts grants or fundingto boost their businesses.
He said, for the emerging fashionpreneurs such financial assistance from government can be critical to growing the business.
Elijah Nyamekye Amoako appealed to government to set up a fund that will be used to boost the fashion design industry.
“If the government doesn’t see a need for the fashion industry locally, it becomes difficult for us to convince the international market of our existence. If we can see the damaging effects that unpredictable strategies by governments or their policies can have on the design communities within Ghana, I think we will begin to do something,” he said.
According to him, it is not surprising that in countries where the fashion industry is a major contributor to the economy, the domestic intellectual property laws facilitate adequate protection of fashion designs, citing countries like France and Italy where there are laws that explicitly protect fashion creatives.
He also noted that Ghana’s fashion industry has the potential to be a big player in the international arena, but the low level of support makes many fashionpreneurs moving abroad, because very little is done to support the designers, models, photographers, makeup artists, stylists, fashion publishers and others.
He also suggested the establishment of a separate Ministry for Fashion Design Industry.
Athough, he said there is a Craetive Arts Ministry, its operations have been skewed towards the Movie Industry alone leaving the fashion industry activities completey out of the Ministry’s programs.
“If the Ministry for Creative Arts also takes care of us in the fashion industry, they should let us know. If not I would suggest that a separate ministry be set up to handle our sector,” he said.
Elijah Nyamekye Amoako also said the fashion industry has the potential of generating employment to the teeming youth hence, governments must consider how it can assist the industry to be able to absorb people who will graduate from fashion schools.
According to him, the fashion industry can positively affect government’s efforts in addressing the unemployment rate.
He said, although there is no shortage of talent, textile tradition or even industrial textiles, what is lacking in Ghana is a policy direction dealing with fashion as a sector.
In effect, Ghana cannot pride itself of a strong and vibrant fashion industry as can be seen in most developed economies.
The Fashion Industry
Fashion is a highly sophisticated. In Ghana alone, consumers spent nearly GHC200 billion on apparel and footwear.
The industry, which encompasses everything from textile and apparel brands to wholesalers, importers and retailers, employs more than 1.8 million people in the United States.
The Ghana fashion industry has evolved from its roots in manufacturing to new high-value design and other creative jobs.
As with many industries in the manufacturing sector, Ghanaians now concentrates on the high-value parts of the apparel global supply chain: research and development design and marketing.
Technology and globalization have had enormous ripple effects in the fashion industry, similar to many other industries, and has created new trends, challenges and opportunities.
The impacts of social media, new business models, advanced manufacturing, and changing demographics are leading to significant changes in all aspects of the fashion industry with the potential to reshape it for years to come.
Ghana, like many other developing countries, is suffering economically due to lack of development of her local fashion industry.
The country in the past had a booming local fashion industry but the itsactivitieshave declined due to stiff poor finishing and nonconformance to standards.
Ghana as a country is made up of different ethnic groups with different cultures, beliefs and societal norms which are believed to influence the trend of fashion in Ghana.
The communal and cultural ethics of people change with time throughout the world as well as in Ghana, so do the fashion and other aesthetics of their arts also change throughout the ages. These changes come about from both internal and external influences as far as clothing and fashion are concerned.
The fusion of culture becomes the order of the day, which includes the merger of clothing and fashion styles of various ethnicities into one another.
By Prosper Agbenyega