Fashion Industry in Ghana


Fashion is one of the upcoming businesses that have the potential to dominate the world. Fashion is not only about what you wear; it affects your attitude and personality. It has the power to make you feel empowered. In today’s world, the inclusivity of countries and regions in the fashion industry is an issue that has to be addressed. Ghana, a country rich in culture and tradition, has been playing a major role in tackling this issue. Ghana is a steadily growing consumer and producer in the fashion industry. The country is blessed with diverse ethnic groups, each with its own unique culture and way of life.


Fashion is a social phenomenon of significant importance. In some ways, fashion helps depict personality through visual representation. It is a form of self-expression. It can be considered as art, a function, a necessity, and an expression. It is something that gives you a feeling of power and control. Shiona Turini, a freelance stylist, once said, “Fashion is about storytelling through clothing; it’s about the stories behind them and the ones you create around them. It’s a cultural influence, backstory, or intellectual touchpoint that you can trace back to what you’re wearing. We use it to escape the mundane, to embrace and celebrate tradition. It’s about a sense of history and pride, and it embodies a greater sense of purpose than just a garment tossed on to cover bodies.”

Ghana has always been fashion-forward. Even though there has been a considerable western influence in the field of fashion, the country has always tried to stay true to their authentic style. Due to the absence of written documentation of the history of fashion in Ghana, the history of fashion is only spoken about. The history of fashion dates back to pre-colonial times. The development of fashion started when colonials introduced clothes with prints. The country has played a major role in influencing fashion in today’s world. The use of bold colors and a variety of fabrics is what makes their designs and style stand out.

Fashion in Ghana 

People in Ghana dress in their traditional style despite western influence. Their clothes are mostly hand made. They are hand-woven, hand-dyed, and hand-sewn by professionals. One of the most widespread methods of production is weaving. Locals used wooden handlooms to produce intricate patterns. Rafia fiber, which was obtained from a type of African Palm tree, was used for this. Ghanaians still use the method of weaving to produce their traditional clothes, Gonja and Kente.

Ghanaians prefer sturdy fabrics that are rich in color and detail. Kente, the traditional form of clothing made by the Akan people, is still worn today. Kaba and Slit are popular among the woman. This consists of a long wrap skirt called the Slit and atop called Kaba. This customary garment is a very symbolic outfit as it is strongly associated with our Ghanaian ladies. Men wear a smock. A smock is a top with which is usually designed with traditional symbols.

The older generation tends to wear more traditional clothes, while the younger generation tends to wear western clothes. The foreign influence has majorly impacted Ghana in recent times. As the youth preferred foreign and imported clothes, the sales of locally made clothes started deteriorating. Most people prefer imported clothes which were owned by major selling brands in the world.

The fashion industry in Ghana has experienced numerous challenges but has remained true to their traditional designs and delivering these in runways and fashion events. The industry has provided the world with some of the most influential fabrics sold. With African prints fabric getting exposure around the world, we have seen the rise in more Ghanaian designers are doing well in the industry. The traditional fiber that was used for only making Slit and Kaba is now used to make dresses for daily use.

While Ghana’s style industry is increasing global acknowledgment, it definitely imports more clothes than it sends out. Around 60% of Ghanaians wear second-hand garments imported from Europe and the United States. People preferably purchase second-hand dresses over manage with pieces of clothing with poor fit. Poor-fitting and quality of clothing made locally are among the major issues bedeviling the local fashion industry.

Fashion brands in Ghana and the Impact of foreign brands

Due to the ingenuity of local fashion designers who are fearlessly fashioning African fabrics in western styles, so the clothes have a broader and international appeal. But the Ghanaian dress is simply western-style translated in African print. Many renowned fashion designers hail from Ghana. These brands have made a huge impact on the fashion industry in the world. Some of the fashion brands who have made their mark on a global scale are April Rust, Atto Tetteh, Denkyi, Duaba Serwa, Citizins, and Virgil Abloh.

Some fashion brands that truly stand out due to their sustainable methods of production are Studio One Eight Nine, Larry Jay, Osei Duro, and Jermaine Bleu. These brands aim to cater for the fashionably conscious individuals and ensure that it is ethically and socially responsible to its environment. Some environment-friendly and sustainable processes they use include dying, weaving, block-printing, brass cutting, hand knitting, quilting, and soft sculpture. These brands also prioritize social responsibility and transparency in their projects, preferring to work collaboratively with a wide range of professionals, designers, and artists. Most of their production work is done in small shops in Ghana.

A great competition is set among fashion industries in the developed and the underdeveloped world, causing the most vulnerable local industries to collapse. The fashion industry of Ghana is not exempted in this regard, with the independent fashion designers being the most affected. Their businesses have been crippled by the influx of foreign clothes and textiles on the Ghanaian market. The drastic increase of smuggled cheap imported dress fashion products on the Ghanaian market posed a huge threat to the local brands. Since the products are not tested for quality and the required taxes imposed on them, they are sold in the market and are sold at very low prices that compete strongly with the local products. This unfair competition has had serious consequences for fashion businesses.

Business Environment in Ghana

Ghana is a great place for production right now. Due to its enormous size of the market and their simplicity in doing trade with foreign countries, Ghana is now one of the top African countries to visit on various business arenas today. For the fashion industries, there are many skilled professionals, small shops, small production units, and high opportunities. This is great for large retailers as well as small SME businesses to produce in and source from.

The government is highly invested in this. They strive to make Ghana one of the most business-friendly nations in Africa. They aim to improve socio-economic development and prosperity for all along with ensuring that all the production in Ghana is sustainable and eco-friendly.



  • Bernard Edem Dzramedo, “CLOTHING AND FASHION IN GHANAIAN CULTURE: A CASE STUDY AMONG THE AKANS”, 2009, College of Art and Social Sciences, PhD Dissertation
  • Dr. Osuanyi Quaicoo Essel, “Decolonising Ghana Fashion Education and Training History”, 2019, University of Education, Winneba, Research Paper
  • G. D. Sarpong, E. K. Howard, and K. Osei-Ntiri, “Globalization Of The Fashion Industry And Its Effects On Ghanaian Independent Fashion Designers”, 2011, College of Art and Social Sciences, Research Paper
  • A.M. Amankwah, E. K. Howard, G.D. Sarpong, “Foreign Fashion Influence On The Ghanaian Youth And Its Impact On The Local Fashion Industry”, 2012, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, Research Paper


  • History of fashion in Ghana,
  • History of Fashion in Ghana,
  • So why is GHANA a great place for production right now?,
  • 8 Ghanaian Sustainable Fashion Brands You Should Know!,


Based in India, Aswathi Jayakumar is a writer and engineering student. She has worked with various environmental organizations and NGOs and is currently pursuing her bachelor's in Electronics and Communication Engineering. She is a certified Citizen Science Leader with the EWS-WWF. She has volunteered and worked with various businesses in the UK, Dubai, Taiwan, and India. She is an environmentalist who aims to spread awareness of the importance of sustainable and eco-friendly practices in everyday lives. She enjoys reading, writing, painting, and volunteering in her free time.

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