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World focus: Chinese on African textiles

Chinese threat for Ghana’s textile firms
By Orla Ryan
Accra, Ghana

Brightly coloured African textile designs are big business in Ghana
Ghanaian textile designer Philip Adu-Gyamfi wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about what he will design the next day. The African prints he and his team design for textile firm ATL are hugely popular. They are worn to church, funerals and weddings – every occasion, traditional or modern, that Ghanaians can find an excuse to wear them to. But Chinese copies of these designs are being smuggled into the West African country and sold at vastly-reduced rates. And this is forcing designers like Mr Adu-Gyamfi to work doubly hard to stay ahead. "It is not easy at all," he says. "You get to a market and the design you have made has been copied, you feel like crying."

Fabric love
When people see you (wearing African fabric), they appreciate you are of a certain class
Philip Adu-Gyamfi, ATL textile designer
Traditional African prints, some printed in wax, are a popular sight in Ghana and throughout West Africa.

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Found in: Global Style

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