The riches of Ghana go far beyond gold, cocoa and timber. These three perhaps are joined to the stock market at the hip in a marriage that can sometimes be tumultuous yet rewarding for both parties simultaneously. This is why we cannot shake them off and actually, this is why we shouldn’t. But on the other side of the coin, the focus on the three aforementioned commodities inadvertently dims the light on the rest of what Ghana can/does offer. I’m talking about diamond, manganese, pharmaceuticals, animal products, fabrics, oil and more. Although other countries may be light years ahead of us in the production and export of these commodities because of the work they have put in over the years, it is highly possible for Ghana to make more revenue off exports given that the land is rich in resources.
Fabric is of particular interest to me. The tangibility of Ghanaian culture largely lies within clothing. As vibrant as any African culture is, the intricacies of the wears can also a tell a lengthy story. We are in an era where it is trendy all of a sudden to patronize the more traditional wears; a move all stakeholders of our culture had long since been crying out for. In today’s Ghana, you will most likely spot at least one kaftan wearer at a celebratory occasion. Pseudo-officially, the Friday dress code in the corporate space is attires made with local prints. Batik, tie-dye, kente fabrics keep increasing in their dynamism. The market is also littered with slippers that are laced with African prints for women and the traditional slippers for men. Indeed, trends come and go without any prior notice. Hence it is pretty impossible to pinpoint the root cause for the upsurge in the popularity of local wears.
It is impressive to note that production of the local wears is also executed in on a large scale and mirror a full blown business. Phil & Joe, Osei Duro, Threaded Tribes, AllEthnicGh, Christie Brown, Chocolate by Kwaku Bediako, Keky3 Fabrics are just a few of the brands that have mushroomed over the years and have managed to own the local fashion market through the business structure they have created and their ability to churn out premium local wears, collection after collection.
The admiration for local wears is beginning to transcend the national borders, much to my delight. Foreigners easily fall in love with the vibrancy and complex patterns of our distinct fabrics although they do not know the stories that back them. I am no economist nor do I check stocks every other hour but based on surface deductions and a bit of pure instinct, I predict that the time for Ghana to blow up the export of her local wears may be nearer than we think. The country can be doing greater numbers in this field and this will concurrently be a win for our local culture, since it is also an opportunity to educate the world about our culture and heritage.