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Fashion: How Industry Players Can Stay In Business Despite COVID

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The Chief Executive Officer of CROSS Fashion/Designs, one of the big names in the Fashion Industry, Elijah Nyamekye Amoako, has urged players in the industry to ensure their relevance by making their works more appealing to clients, for them to continue to be in business even in this Covid era.

He said, like many other businesses, industries and sectors, the Fashion Industry has also been hugely affected by the pandemic but the onus lies on players in the industry to take up the challenge of remaining relevant and in business.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this Reporter, Elijah Nyamekye Amoako said Covid-19 Restrictions have affected their businesses, explaining that getting raw materials like fabrics and accessories has become a serious challenge to industry players.

According to him, “These things are not manufactured here in Ghana, we get most of these fabrics and accessories from outside and so with the closure of the borders and the restrictions, it is difficult to get these things. Sometimes too, because of the restrictions you, as a fashion designer cannot travel out to get them yourself. You need to order and with the order, you might end up buying things not to your specifications.”

He averred that conditions during pre-Covid era were favourable and the processes one has to go through to bring in fabrics and accessories were not so cumbersome as currently.

Elijah Nyamekye Amoako noted that the ban on social gatherings such as Funerals, Beaches, Parties, Weddings, Church activities and others are also factors that affect their businesses.
He mentioned that because the4se programs are being restricted, people don’t spend more on dresses, especially handmade fashion because they have nowhere to go with them.

“One of the things we should look at is also the fact that with the Covid situation, lots of businesses laid-off their workers, corporate entities which hitherto patronize our products are no longer doing so. These workers who are laid-off don’t have enough money to spend on dresses as they used to do, and this also affects our businesses,” he said.

Another factor CROSS Fashion/Designs CEO elaborated has to do with expatriates.

He said as industry players, they have lost several expatriate customers who used to come to Ghana and patronize their products.

“So as you can see, we have lost a large client base when it comes to doing business with expatriates,” he said.

Notwithstanding the above challenges he elaborated, he indicated that Fashion Industry players and designers can still remain in business whether there is Covid or not.

He explained that for them at CROSS Fashion/Designs they pay particular attention to their target market which he said is key.

“You must choose your market carefully, know what they need and produce to their specification to suit them,” he said.

Speaking on the cost of Made in Ghana Fashion products, he said the cost of production does affect the prices but that when people see Africa wear as a normal dress and patronize them effectively, it will boost their level of production which will in turn affect the prices of their products and make them more affordable.

“One thing we must understand is that handmade products are quite expensive. And you know, the Fashion industry here in Ghana is still growing and with time we will be able to compete with other customized brands and make our products more affordable for the market,” he said.

He however advised fellow Fashion Designers not to compromise on Quality, Standard and Turnaround Time.

According to him, designers must put all efforts into their work and be ready to give customers what they want and not just what customers want, but the products must be of quality and standard.

He also advised that meeting the demands of clients or customers on time cannot be overlooked.

Elijah Nyamekye Amoako said Turn-Around-Time is important and called on all players to respect the time to deliver orders to clients; this he said, builds confidence in the system and improves business growth as far as fashion is concerned.

He commended the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, Ministers and Parliamentarians especially, for doing well in promoting made-in-Ghana fashion clothes.

“I must say I am impressed as a fashion designer when I went to Parliament the other day and about 80% of members in the House were in African wear, which is a good sign. We will get there gradually. We must do everything possible to promote our products and the President and MPs are doing well in that regard,” he said.

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