South African Fashion Designers, Retail, Clothing, Challenges, Supply-Chain-Management Model


The purpose of this paper was to investigate the challenges South African fashion designers experienced when managing their supply chain network in the retail clothing industry. In today’s complex markets, the susceptibility of the supply chain is viewed as an ongoing issue for several industries and it is no different for fashion designers. As a result, in the past, the visibility of South African fashion designers in the retail environment appeared to be minimal, due to a number of challenges.

This paper is based on qualitative research that made use of in-depth semi-structured interviews with a total of twenty-four participants, with the sample divided into five groups representing different industry professionals. Semi-structured interviews allowed the participants to answer the questions unreservedly based on their own personal and professional experiences. The findings revealed that South African fashion designers in the retail industry experienced a number of supply chain challenges such as cash flow and funding, fabric, challenges associated with cutting, making and trimming (CMT) companies, skills and knowledge, fashion designer’s business acumen, market access and location, human skilled resources, garment and production quality, fragmentation, costing, marketing, competition, and other isolated challenges that were mentioned by a few participants.

The practical implications of this paper include the need for responsible stakeholders to put in place mechanisms to reduce the supply-chain-management challenges South African fashion designers are facing in the retail clothing industry. As a result, close proximity supply chain networks that could support effective communication amongst members of the supply chain are recommended.


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