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improved contacts with other young designers and the local fashion network as a whole

Posted Jun 25 2013 9:01am

The growing business was relocated to a design studio in Braamfontein

close to the inner city (see Figure 1), which allowed better access to fabric suppliers

in Fordsburg and the inner city, as well as improved contacts with other

young designers and the local fashion network as a whole. More recently, Sun

Goddess relocated again to the decentralized shopping and commercial node of

Rosebank, where the enterprise operates from a new retail store at The Zone.

From its Rosebank base, expansion has occurred to other parts of Johannesburg

and beyond to other South African cities. By-end 2005 Sun Goddess had four

retail outlets, including the store in Rosebank. The other stores are all located in

upper-income shopping areas, at the Gateway shopping center outside of Durban,

the Waterfront in Cape Town, and Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Sun Goddess has focused its retailing strategy upon its own outlets and has esDeveloping

the Fashion Industry in Africa 229

chewed supplier relationships with the large retail chains such as Woolworths or

Edgars. For Vanya, to do so would mean the creating of “watered-down”, less

expensive garments, which would move away from the desire to preserve ‘pure’

ethnic African cultural designs. Although targeted at the middle to upper income

brackets, Sun Goddess products are aimed at consumers who identify with (and

can afford) its designer label that radiates with ethnic flair. The market for the

goods of Sun Goddess includes both foreign tourists as, well as domestic customers,

particularly affluent orthodox Muslim and Jewish women, who often

favour the company’s long, traditional, A-line skirts.

Branding has been paramount to the success of Sun Goddess. Vanya explains

that such branding does not simply involve coming up with new and creative

clothing designs but incorporates also the manner in which service is packaged

and the way the staff in each of the stores present themselves. The design process

within the business remains in-house. Sun Goddess makes a concerted effort to

employ only black designers. The Mangalisos believe that they have a moral

responsibility to uplift South Africa’s black population, who were disadvantaged

particularly under apartheid. According to Vanya, Black Economic Empowerment,

which is a South African government led initiative targeted to expand the

involvement and strength of black participation in the South African economy, is

“about making certain business choices and decisions”.

The designs adopted by Sun Goddess stem from original designs used by African

peoples (particularly of the Xhosa culture) since the seventeenth century. yanzic0626.

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