Marketplace Africa, CNN, fashion

Eleni talks SA fashion industry.

With South Africa’s fashion scene growing at such an incredible rate, we get down to facts with Eleni Giokos from CNN.

Giokos, Business Correspondent at CNN, discusses The Fashion Industry in South Africa on this week's episode of CNN Marketplace Africa on CNN International (401). We caught up with Eleni to ask her a few of our own questions.


Read our interview below:

Why is it important to be delving into the topic of SA’s fashion industry?

Africa has a vibrant fashion industry with upcoming talent starting to make it big on international runways. Many local designers find it challenging to break into the industry due to lack of resources but despite this, the industry is finding ways to share resources and create sustainable businesses. Now that big global clothing brands like H&M, Zara, Top Shop etc are available in SA (finally!).

It’s important to understand the market share that is being taken away from local designers. Consumers need to know the value of buying Made and Designed in South Africa fashion – it creates jobs and supports local talent.


Read More: GoT Fash Mash


What did you learn from discussing the fashion industry?

A stand out for me was the link between the runway and the retailers. The buy-side of the market is just as important as concepts and designs. The industry is plagued by high CMT costs, sadly most designers don’t have the luxury of manufacturing high volumes and so it makes their product more expensive and often less competitive.

Retailers bargain with designers to ensure garment prices make sense for the consumer that aren’t always aware of the costs involved in producing garments – designers don’t have big margins and don’t have the luxury of mass producing to capitalise on manufacturing facilities. Cheap means the person at the end of it all is going home with very little money and it’s usually the tailors.


What do you think sets the South African industry apart?

African designers create vibrant and versatile clothes. High quality, high fashion with an African flair.


Fashion is quite a fun topic. On that note, what’s your favourite clothing item, and what’s your favourite accessory?

That’s a really difficult question but I guess I’d pick the little black dress – I have about 10 different black dresses in my closet that can be dressed up with a work jacket or down with a leather jacket. I always have to look slick and professional and there’s nothing like a well-made dress! I also cannot imagine life without earrings, mostly big dangly ones but for work I go for pearls or gemstone studs. 


You must travel quite a bit for work, have you noticed a particularly fashionable location? If so, where?

Like most people, NYC, London and Athens are my favourites but I have to mention Lagos. I love Nigeria’s style, the city is filled with tailors that can make outfits in 24 hours. Women and men wear fantastically colourful printed clothes with incredible African inspired designs.


If there’s one fashion item you could shun from the world in any era, what would it be?

High waisted pants!


Catch CNN Marketplace Africa for all the latest African market information, events and developments that impact the business world on CNN International (401) on Fridays at 17:15.