We at the Gauteng Smallholder have for years being despairing over the fact that so little of what we use in our daily lives is manufactured in South Africa.

But there is change in our clothing industry and we urge our readers to give it as much support as they can.

Apparently our larger clothing retailers are turning more and more to local producers ~ and not just because “it’s the right thing to do” or because the pandemic has severely disrupted the supply of imported goods.

They are acknowledging that local producers can supply goods far quicker than Asian suppliers. The retailers can be more flexible, so that they can boost the manufacture for items that are proving more popular. This quicker response enables the retailers to be more profitable. Whereas local producers can supply in just over a month, it takes international goods five or more months to get here.

Clothing retailers are now using local manufacturers to produce 35 ~ 50% of their stock.

So why should smallholders care about this? Well, the effect on our economy is obvious: more local companies are able to provide employment, which means employees are able to not only survive and be less dependent on the state, but are spending in their local communities, supporting local businesses.

There is less strain on the environment, if the clothes that we buy are not being transported by sea or air.

Many of us can remember how proud we used to be of our textile and clothing industries and we welcome back with joy the Made in South Africa labels. We are able to display our indigenous fashion trends, but also accommodate our weather and climate conditions.

And we as consumers can support this trend by seeking out locally manufactured clothes, wielding our consumer power. Remember to look out for local goods at major clothing retailers such as Foschini, Exact, Markham, Sportscene, Totalsport, Mr Price, Pick ‘n Pay clothing, Woolworths, Truworths, Game and Pep. (The latter are focussing largely on making basic school clothing.) There are also some online clothing stores that offer local clothing.

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