The clothing and textile industry in South Africa is beginning to stabilise after years of turmoil and job losses. Competitiveness has risen partly as a result of support programs. Measures have been taken over the last few years to defend South African borders against the influx of illegal imports flooding the market. Support has been provided through the Clothing and Textile Competitiveness Program, which ensured that 65,000 jobs were kept and 7000 new ones created.
The footwear and leather industry has also been revived. It now contributes significantly to export earnings, with 20 new factories having been opened. Clothing and textile companies have adapted to the fast fashion approach, getting a product to retailers faster than imported goods. Currently, minimal export takes place, even though opportunities are there. There is the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which the industry hasn’t exploited yet. There is the advantage of the weak currency, which too hasn’t been exploited.
South African shopping malls have more of global retail players than of South African fashion. So the shopping malls today are increasingly becoming indistinguishable from retail malls elsewhere in the world. Well-branded domestically produced fashion is often absent.