A study on the rise in the use of African fabrics in Ghanaian and Western societies

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The use of African fabrics has progressed from a time when they were primarily reserved for traditional and special occasions, to a period where they have become a casual wear staple, both within and outside the African continent. However, there is inadequate literature that comprehensively addresses the question of why African fabrics have generated so much interest especially in Ghana, while the country's textile industry is declining. This study therefore explains the reasons for the growing interest in the fabrics and compares the use of these fabrics in and outside Africa. It also provides recommendations on how Ghana's textile industry can be improved. It gathers data from questionnaires circulated to consumers of African fabric, interviews conducted with Ghanaian-based fashion industry players and some observation. The data shows that the primary motivation for the use of the fabrics stems more from the attractiveness of the fabrics, as opposed to cultural factors or media propaganda. It also shows that the internet was significant in the diffusion of the trend in Ghana. Other factors that also explain the trend in Ghana include the National Friday Wear Programme introduced by the government in 2004. Recommendations for the textile industry include improving the quality of products, competitive pricing and co-operation between textile manufacturing companies and fashion designers. This study therefore adds to existing literature on African fabrics and clothing, and at the same time provides solutions on how Ghana's textile industry can be improved so as to take full advantage of the increasing interest in African fabrics.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University College, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2013
Ghana, textile industry, fashion, African fabrics, African textiles, diffusion, trends