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The East African : Oct 31st 2015
The EastAfrican MAGAZINE OCTOBER 31 - NOVEMBER 6, 2015 VII Swahili Fashion Week bluest [rawest] and cheapuppose it’s because there nywhere else for it to go. as some of the tanneries n do fantastic work at finwould be nice if there were f institutional mechanism gher tax structure to supwth of inter-linked induseather production and end eather either through VAT welcoming international of sewing and leatherwork invited me for a tour of kshop, where I noticed the of his leather goods. His expensive and are much by the expatriates comhe upper and middle class This, however, could in the his business if the leather ot get tax relief soon. argues that one does not ess degree to know that a ke clothes and shoes can evenue earner for a counneeds clothes. Yet today as a developing country, clothes and fashion inet to make any significant strides despite the admirable efforts of its stakeholders. Mustafa Hassanali, the brains behind SFW, has done a great job but there is room for improvement. There is a lot of talk but little progress in the fashion industry and all its supporting sectors. For example, in 2011, in his closing speech, Hassanali said: “We aim at making Dar es Salaam a fashion and textile hub in East and Central Africa by the year 2017.” Now, Tanzania was the leading canvas textile manufacturer in East Africa, but the largest factory recently closed down in Morogoro. Urafiki, one of the oldest and leading khanga manufacturer in the country is now owned by the Chinese. Then he called on BASATA-Tanzania Art Council to collaborate without saying how. And these statements are not followed up with any initiative to get the government to get involved or even address the challenges faced by the fashion sector. Support It is not enough for BASATA to merely endorse efforts by the private sector like the Swahili Fashion Week and the Kili Music Awards by offering a stamp of approval. It is time for such bodies to rec- Model Emmanuel Mfanyikazi at SFW 2014. From left to right: Models pose with handbags by KAULI in the “Made in Tanzania” category at the SFW 2014. All pics: Caroline Uliwa ognise they have a higher responsibility in delivering a sound environment for the creative industry to operate. This is the same sentiment ex- pressed by fashion designer Salum Ngumba, one of the talents boosted by SFW when he debuted as an emerging designer in 2010. Today, he has an established clientele that he mostly accesses online. “I use social media a lot to advertise my work, I have a page on Instagram with the name mtoko_designs and my facebook page is www.facebook.com/ mtokodesigns. “ When I asked him if he’s registered under the fashion designers coalition at BASATA he flatly said no, adding “I don’t see the point of paying the annual fee, when I don’t see what they’re doing for me.” My last two interviews were with high end boutique owners of SIA Couture, whose shop is at Sea Cliff Hotel in Dar es Salaam, and Waiz Shelukindo, the owner of the WAIZ boutique in the lobby of Africa House Hotel in Zanzibar. Both boutiques are considered high end and the director of SIA said, “I import my designer clothes from abroad and it’s still affordable to my clients.” She attends the SFW but is not interested in buying any of the works of the local designers. Shelukindo takes part in the SFW to showcase his own label, WAIZ. SIA Couture claims they don’t sell works from local fashion designers because of the inability of these designers to produce merchandise in bulk. What this tells me is that the gov- ernment has not been doing its job in co-ordinating this industry, which can be a massive employer and also an export income earner for the country since all the key sectors needed for a fashion industry exist in this country, They just need friendly government policies to thrive. It is, in my opinion, not hard to have a thriving textile or fashion industry in the country, considering that all the police uniforms and school uniforms are made locally in Tanzania. This means we have enough skilled manpower to build a niche fashion industry. This could cut down on the clothes import bill from China, Dubai and Thailand.
Oct 24th 2015
Nov 7th 2015