Global brands sign contracts with Kenyan apparel units
today Oct 30, 2017
Top global fashion brands are raising the profile of Kenya’s export processing zones (EPZ) by signing production contracts with apparel manufacturers there.
Calvin Klein, Arrow, Izod and Cherokee are some such labels that have signed such contracts. These brands are looking to source more of their clothing items from Africa to reduce their reliance on Asia.
Many brands, such as Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), started local production in 2014 at Ashton Apparel. Hela Clothing, a new EPZ firm with 1,500 workers, is manufacturing Calvin Klein underwear and plans to double its workforce, according to a report in a Kenyan newspaper.
New Wide Garments is manufacturing Arrow and Izod labels and employs more than 7,000 workers. Global EPZ, with 1,500 employees, produces Cherokee clothing brand.
Increased contract manufacturing in the country is expected to boost textile and apparel exports whose earnings and production has dropped significantly from its peak in the 1980s.
Compared to 52 mills in 1984, Kenya now has 21 mills operating at a capacity of less than 50 per cent, according to the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation.
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