Fashion is a massive enterprise in Africa, with the apparel and footwear market in sub-Saharan Africa being valued at a whopping US$ 31 billion. This is an industry that has over the years been viewed as one only meant for the “elite” but is huge when it comes to boosting the economy.
The Kenyan fashion industry is currently positioned at a strategic point that will enable it to erupt and emerge as the innovation leader within the east Africa corridor. Currently about 70, 000 businesses operate within the fashion industry in the country, including fashion designers.
For years, the fashion industry has been slowly and steadily growing and progressing as there is increased demand for domestically made attires.
With over 75 percent of the Kenyan population being aged below 35 years, it would be correct to acknowledge that we are a relatively young and creative generation.
The rather young generation has exhibited a growing interest in African-made and designed attires which include colorful fabrics, explicit designs, and the fusion of high quality craftsmanship that embodies African cultures.
The fashion industry has the potential of tapping into the large talent pool and leveraging on the vast opportunities that may present themselves in the form of networks that are spread out within the country.
As with many industries, creativity and innovation are important elements of transformation and job creation, and it is thus quite impressive that the youth within the country are employing creativity to address market gaps which they can then use for sustainable business models.
The use of innovation is the key that will enable the realization of the 300, 000 jobs to become a reality. Already there are collaborations with the music and art industries as they have an established symbiotic relationship with each other.
By Carole Kinoti