The fashion designing industry is one of the lot that has been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The ban on social gatherings and other restrictions, as well as job losses and reduced incomes, meant that people spent more on essential needs like food and medicine, rather than on non-food items such as clothes.
In an assessment of how the shift in people’s demand for sewn clothes has affected the fashion designing industry, Citi Business News engaged some dressmakers and tailors in Accra.
They confirmed that although business is not moving with the speed that they want, they are hopeful that with further easing of the restrictions, business will return to normal.
A tailor, Smith Amewornu, said, “At first, business was doing okay. But everything changed when the coronavirus emerged. Now that the government has eased the restrictions, we are hopeful it will get better. During the lockdown period, I sometimes had some of my customers ordering for clothes for work. This was how I used to get something small to fend for myself. I did not increase the amount I charge for the clothes. This is because the customers were reluctant to make any order since they had nowhere going. So I didn’t increase my prices.”
“Right now, the business is now picking up slowly. During the COVID time, we were working on our backlogs. So we used about two to three weeks to finish previous orders. So we had to work on them to give the customers their clothes. So, throughout the period, we actually didn’t have work at all. It was after the lockdown that one or two came. But it was just till last week, that you have about three to five people coming in to sew clothes. We know it will pick up because when we go to town, we see that things are picking up. So definitely, ours will also get better,” Joseph Frimpong said.
Belinda Ofori, a seamstress added that, “Many people were not going for funerals, weddings, church services, parties, and other ceremonies. That is where we normally get our income from. But because all of these events were suspended, we weren’t working. Even when we called our customers to come for their dresses which we had already sewn, they were refusing to come for them. So it was really difficult for us as dressmakers. But by God’s grace, we survived. Previously, we used to make a lot of dresses in a day, but nowadays, we can only make about two or three outfits a day.”
The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been well documented since the outbreak in China in the latter part of 2019.
The health crisis, beyond taking nearly a million lives out of over 26 million cases, has literally crippled several economic activities and disrupted economic gains made by countries in recent years.
The pandemic changed many things, including people’s lifestyle choices.
President Akufo-Addo on March 15, 2020, declared a ban on all public gatherings, including conferences, funerals, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and other related events as part of measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country. At the time, Ghana had recorded six cases of COVID-19.
The partial lockdown, which was imposed days after, also worsened the situation, since only essential service providers were permitted to work, forcing every other person to stay at home.
During and after the partial lockdown, those in the fashion design industry were largely left with no work to do, as people had no reason to order for new outfits.
But with the gradual easing of restrictions, which has permitted several social activities albeit with adherence to safety protocols, the sewing business is gradually picking up.