As I pen this,a lot is flushing through my mind. I’d love to indulge you all in my “new school” thoughts about Economics drawn from the observations I’ve been making and so let’s do this.
We live in an era where image is believed to be everything.Everyone is out to create a brand for and of themselves. One of the engines to power this particular drive is fashion think of and hence the birth of Fashionably Speaking.
I sat down and asked myself a few questions about how someone’s taste and ultimately consumption of a particular brand trickles down to the economy.
I’ll borrow a few facts from the infamous New York Fashion Week(s). It is common knowledge that New York is the fashion capital of the States and with it comes amazing findings that our country can borrow from.
This glamorous show single handedly has the capacity to engage 4 million workers in active employment a whooping 3 million people more than more established sectors such as car manufacturers (General Motors), Video Game Industry (Yes, video game heads I said it) and the Beverage Industry. Imagine that.
The New York City of Economic Development Corporation attributes an amount to the tune of USD 532 million to direct visitor spending in their semi annual fashion weeks in the months of February and September.
Fun Fact: The above direct spending can be equated to KES 532 Billion (going by the current exchange rates). Enough money to bail out Kenya Airways ten times over and the teacher’s standoff six fold.
What am I driving at. The potential that this industry has on an economy like Kenya.
1. Revival of Industries
Industries that are directly related to fashion that long shut down i.e cotton factories may eventually get a new lease of life.Fashion designers will have easy access to great and locally made fabric. The government can invest in such an industry and by doing so value is created for raw materials. This fuels a local and an international demand for the goods produced.
International demand for locally produced goods fetches the economy foreign exchange (which is quite elusive in our country).
Consumption is a function of Gross Domestic Product and an increase of it pushes it notches up. It’s about time that Kenya exports ‘Mtumba’ to other countries and see many locally branded designer shops coming up (Kudos to Kikoromeo and their likes).
2. Creation Of Employment
Best thing about this industry is that it cuts across the skilled and semi-skilled. The raw material industries require manpower for their normal operations and the cancer that is unemployment can slowly be curbed.
3. Agricultural Expansion
The industry requires fabric which is mostly sourced from farming (Farming will be fashionable so to speak). It will also spur research and development in production of say the finest silk, cotton etc.
4. Tourism Boost
Imagine having a fashion festival during the wildebeest migration smack in the middle of the Mara. Let’s just christen it Fashion In The Wild just for a few days. Using what we have to provide solutions to issues that plague our country.
That’s promoting our local designers and at the same time showcasing our country as the prime tourist destination.
5. Economic Growth and Development
This will be propelled by the engaging many in active employment. Which then makes these individuals have access to good social amenities i.e schooling healthcare etc also advancement of entrepreneurial culture will create a cycle of generation of more jobs. Other complementary sectors will thrive i.e the airline industries through say moving tourists domestic or otherwise to our locally branded fashion fests.
I hope this gives you a peek into the bigger picture.
Image courtesy of https://nyasaniobiko.wordpress.com