When it comes to footwear manufacturing, one is inclined to think about the impact it will have on the environment, as this has become important to many conscious consumers. ‘Going Green’ is not just a trend; it is a concerning factor that has a powerful consequence on our planet. Whether the labourers work in suitable and safe environments and are of legal working age are just two such concerns. Yet if we go a little greener, it is most certainly just as important to consider the effect it has on the economy, which has a direct impact on the product’s price – a consumer’s driving decision-maker.
Footwear manufacturers in South Africa pride themselves on having a strong vision for the future, as they aim to predominantly utilise local resources. These include natural materials and textiles, technological resources and human resources. With the current exchange rate profoundly affecting the price we pay for items, such as shoes, steering away from imported goods and supporting local designers and manufacturers is a step in the right direction.
Although local footwear manufacturing is on a small scale, there is a definite focus on home-grown talent. Fashion trends with ethnic fabrics, leather trims and embellished detail will always be prevalent within the South African market.
A handful of designers are steering the local footwear industry towards building the economy, with innovative ideas in design and footwear manufacturing. Save Our Soles Footwear pride themselves on providing a product range of fold-up pumps that are designed and created for corporate use, such as in airlines and hotels. Not only will products such as these give a boost to the South African economy, but the consideration is just as focused on the environment with 100% cotton lining, and manufactured using locally sourced products and manpower.
From a buyers’ perspective, the fashion industry is a very sensitive market as the majority of local spend is on international brands. This is due to the belief that imported footwear is of better quality than that manufactured locally. Slowly but surely there is a change in consumer behaviour toward local brands, despite such change being sluggish. Encouraging consumers to spend our local currency on local talent will have a positive influence on environmental and economical friendliness and growth in South Africa.
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