GREETINGS H-Metro readers and fashion enthusiasts world over.
This week I decided to tackle fashion as a big business in this instalment after readers begged me to enlighten them on the subject.
According to Statista (who are specialists in market and data), the U.S. apparel market is the biggest in the world, accounting for 28 percent of the global trade, or $331 billion.
The industry creates employment and makes it one of the top tax revenue earners for the government through suppliers, distributors, retailers, designers and merchandisers.
The biggest challenge in fashion, considering its huge and intense competition, is: Does your product match your brand?
It is not an issue of creating new apparels but are they better than those in the market?
LEVI’S BRAND: (About two and half centuries ago).
It was founded on 01 May 1853 as David Stern and Levi Strauss.
Founder was Levi Strauss.
Its headquarters is in San Francisco, USA. It operated 2800 company-operated stores. In 2018, its revenue was $5.575 billion USD. It had 15,100 employees by the year 2018.
‘’Ask an employee what makes this company different, and they’ll tell you. It’s our values: empathy, originality, integrity and courage… These guide every decision we make and every action we take… From our products to our practice, innovation is integral and sustainability is as essential as fabric and thread.”- said, Chip Bergh, President & CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi’s jeans slogan is ‘’QUALITY NEVER GOES OUT OF STYLE”. This has effectively enabled the brand to match with it’s product in the following:
- Customers are encouraged to be loyal to the brand.
- Employees and retail stores are reminded of a level of expected customer service.
The Levi’s company maintains its position as on the leaders in the branded apparel industry in the world.
GUCCI BRAND: (100 years ago).
In 2020, this brand’s net worth was tagged at 17.63 billion U.S.dollars. Gucci originated in Florence, Italy and was founded by Guccio Gucci in 1920. The first store was opened in 1921. The House of Gucci had more than 17,157 employees and operated 487 stores by 2019.
Gucci’s global tagline: QUALITY IS REMEMBERED LONG AFTER COST IS FORGOTTEN. This makes the brand to be so expansive but highly demanded. It achieved this level through the following ways:
- Its rich heritage.
- Its smart business strategy.
Gucci product and the brand match speaks volumes in fashion market segment.
Gucci’s combined unique elements of design and clever marketing create consumer desire and high demand.
VERSACE BRAND: (40 years ago)
It produces up market Italian-made ready-to-wear and leather accessories. It was founded in 1978, as Gianni Versace Donna by Gianni Maria Versace, with its headquarters in Milan, Italy. In 2016, it operated more than 1500 boutiques worldwide. It’s shares had been sold to the Group Michael Kors Limited on 24 September 2018 for about 2 billion euros.
The Versace logo is the head of Medusa, a Greek mythological figure. Gianni Versace chose Medusa as the logo because she made people fall in love with her and they had no way back.
He hoped his company would have the same effect on people and on those who wore his clothes and shoes. Versace is widely known for its innovative designs with style.
Bigger overseas clothing brands are now using the Africa prints and concepts in their clothing lines. This has proved that Africa,(inspiration wise, creativity wise), we do have what it takes.
The question is; Are we ready, as Africans, when we produce our product; Quality wise? Do we have what it take?
Mind you, our product we produce in Africa, we are taking it into the same market that these big and international brands had already occupied.
Africa is considered to be the continent of opportunities. In the next half a century, African economies are expected to rise above 7% in terms of growth. Bigger players are opening offices in Africa as never before.
Then the most provoking question is; Are we sure, in terms of quality standards, that our products are able to meet the global market competition.
The same retail market, that we are going to supplier is the same that those giants are also supplying and the customer will compare before buying then go for the best.
As African and Zimbabwean designers, we have go it but are we ready in terms of quality, to meet the expected standards? Our issue in on quality.
Creativity we are wild and to the point but l think it’s high time we need to shift our mindset and aim the highest levels of quality so that our products are of the same standards with big brands.
What is it that they are doing and we are not doing?
That’s associating there brand and product with excellence. Let’s go for it nomatter what it takes. Let us not compromise when it comes to quality.
The Zimbabwean and African brands, apart from the uniqueness, quality plays a major role. Long time established brands like Levi’s, Gucci, Vesarce and others, what they major on is the quality that satisfies customers at highest level.
It’s not the time they were established but relavance in terms of what last, which is not only the cost or uniqueness but quality.
That’s the only ingredient that matches our products with our brands.
NB: Thembani Mubochwa is an award-winning Fashion Designer and Celebrity Stylist.
To connect with him you can use the following platforms:
Cell: +263 776 848 541
Email: [email protected]