Cape Town – A call has gone out for South Africans to support locally manufactured and designed goods as Covid-19 has decimated local businesses.
Evert Johan Erasmus, 33, a Cape Town-based clothing designer who has his own clothing store in Church Street, said business has been tough.
“When we got back to work in May it was busy, but in July it was dead and August was dead. There have been no sales at all. People don’t want to spend money any more and I feel for local designers,” Erasmus said.
His store, which has existed for six years, will be closing next month as he buckles under the the battered Cape Town economy.
“It’s not necessarily been Covid-19; it’s also because of the Cape Town economy which has been going downward slowly. Tourists aren’t coming in, which makes it harder,” he said.
Local clothing manufacturers, designers and small business owners are perhaps among the hardest hit by the nationwide lockdown as they rely solely on clothing sales, orders and online orders just to make a living.
Many local designers rely also on tourism, and with the borders closed, their financial situation has worsened.
Erasmus said with fashion it’s difficult to jump into the online market. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into our online presence, but with fashion … it’s unique and distinctive: it’s not as easy to buy a fit online. It’s the biggest challenge for women especially, because they want the store experience,” he said. Erasmus said it had been devastating to see many businesses close up shop in the CBD.
“Covid-19 has really set us 20 years back and it will take longer for retailers to recover from this and get back to where we were as an industry,” he said.
Proudly SA chief executive Eustace Mashimbye told the Cape Argus supporting local businesses was more crucial now than ever.
“Only by supporting local manufacturers, products and services can we put people back to work and get the economy moving again. Buying local creates and retains jobs,” Mashimbye said.