Sowing Skills and #doDifferent

One of the most exciting and hopeful developments to have come from the massive disruption of Covid-19 was a wholesale reconsideration of global supply chains, and the relevance of the status quo in a rapidly changing world.

A good example is the emerging trend for large clothing retailers to move away from established fast-fashion business methods which have been hugely wasteful of resources, and environmentally and socially unsustainable.

Gone are the days of retailers attempting to predict fashion trends for upcoming seasons and producing large amounts of stock, normally sourced from cheap foreign manufacturers, with the hope of matching actual consumer preferences. This created huge amounts of waste from unsold stock and the associated environmental impact of this waste.

Instead, retailers are beginning to leverage new manufacturing technologies and supply chain methodologies to become reactive to consumer preferences, and to bring manufacture of textiles back to local businesses. This means there are opportunities for South African textile producers to grow and sustain businesses, and it also means there is a growing need for the skills required to produce these textiles.

One local textile company is responding to this need and has placed skills development at the heart of their business.

The Sewing Café is a Cape Town-based professional apparel factory which was established in 2012. The core of their business is a Cut Make Trim (CMT) studio which turns fashion designs into well-made finished products – from small bespoke runs to large-scale manufacture. They also offer pattern-making and sampling services – which means they have a wide range of skills available in the business.

The Sewing Café have leveraged this fact with the aim to #doDifferent. The company places an emphasis on training and skills development. Since starting the business they have trained over 100 unskilled and unemployed people from the communities of Masiphumelele and Ocean View. Their CMT studio also acts as a hub where aspiring entrepreneurs and young designers can launch their brands and begin their business journeys.

Additionally, the business runs the Afternoon Sewing Club program with pupils from Masiphumelele High School. This program develops and equips these young people with the skills and confidence to access work opportunities in the textiles industry, or begin their own businesses. In communities where work opportunities are difficult to access, this kind of initiative can make a huge impact.

So, maybe you’ve got some clothing designs you would like realized. The Sewing Café can make those designs a reality, and do good in the process. For the rest of us, why not check out their website to find out how you can #doDifferent and support by purchasing from their customers or donating to their upliftment projects?

Visit the Sewing Café website here.

Images by: The Sewing Café