The debut collection of South Africa's first cashmere manufacturer has been heralded as a milestone in transforming the country's economic landscape.
Jeff Radebe, minister for planning, monitoring and evaluation, addressed the Ivili Loboya Textile debut collection launch in Johannesburg and praised the signing of deal with an Italian retailer.
“It is inspiring to note that the launch of this initiative will also mark the signing of an agency agreement with an Italian retailer, an initiative that will expand your markets to Europe,” he said.
“I believe that a project of this nature has great potential to contribute significantly both to the development of an inclusive economy as well as in employment creation.
“These are kinds of initiatives that add meaningful value in changing the current socio-economic conditions of the people of South Africa.”
Ivili Loboya, meaning “wheel of wool”, is a wool and cashmere “beneficiation enterprise” for woven and non-woven textile products, based at Ibika in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa. It was started in 2015.
The debut Dadani Collection, displayed at the launch, featured indigenous luxury fabrics ranging from hand-spun and woven to hand-knitted or machine-made and printed according to three design themes—clan, earth and ethnic.
Dr Vuyo Mahlati, Ivili Loboya’s owner, told Bizcommunity that his collection had substantial support from textile, industrial and policy sectors.
“We intend to revive South Africa’s textile industry through local natural resources and create a niche for ourselves in the global luxury fabric market,” he said.
“We see a great future for our pioneering fabrics, as our research shows that Africa’s growing middle class is discerning in its fabric choices, looking for natural fibres where possible.”
At the launch Radebe commented that Ivili Textiles had contributed directly to the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP) by promoting women in work, improving productivity through agronomic and development skills, as well as promoting entrepreneurship.
The NDP identifies trade as one of the key interventions to enhance growth of a more dynamic and inclusive economy while integrating the country’s rural areas, infrastructure development, job creation and poverty alleviation.
The minister added the country needed to increase agricultural development based on successful land reform, employment creation and strong environmental safeguards.
“Business ventures that are based in such areas deserve all the support that we can give,” he said.
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