Being or feeling comfortable means different things to different people. For some throwing on a pair of trousers and a shirt works the magic, for others a pair of boots or shoes works just fine, but others prefer to go the whole nine yards. From the attire to accessories used, some people just love to show up looking ‘complete.’
The quest to satisfy these needs has resulted in the creation of an industry that is making billions for economies worldwide.
The fashion industry is undoubtedly huge and continues to grow rapidly. Current growth projections indicate that it will double in the next 10 years, generating up to $5 trillion annually.
Very few sectors look up to such levels of growth.
But the revenue is not the only bright side of this industry. It also employs about 60 million people around the world. In the United States of America, about 1.8 million people work in the fashion industry.
Africa has not been left behind. Countries like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria are beginning to pay particular attention to their fashion industries due to the obvious prospects and the millions that can be made from it.
Ghana is making its own strides in the industry and more than before, Ghanaians are becoming more fashion conscious. From Christie Brown to Pisties, Selinabebs and many others, the Ghanaian fashion industry can only get better.
An area rug made from jute
But TRAP – True Reflection of African Products – is doing something even more fantastic with jute. The ‘golden fibre’ which is almost unregarded in Ghana is being transformed into simple but elegant footwear.
Not too expensive to cultivate but having its wide variety of uses, jute is considered the second most important vegetable fibre, after cotton. At the lower levels, jute is used to make coarse cloth and sacks, often for wrapping bales of cotton or for use in sandbags and the bagging of cocoa.
Far from its simpler uses, jute has become a regular addition in many industries. It is being used for furniture, bedding, paper and sometimes for automobile.
For home décor, jute is often found in curtains, carpets, area rugs, hessian cloth, and upholstery fabric. Linoleum tiles often have jute backing. Hessian cloth, one of the lighter fabrics made from Jute, is used for bags as well as wall coverings and is one of the more common forms of jute found in home furnishings.
Here in Ghana, jute bags are common and that is, perhaps the only use many know about. TRAP is changing this notion.
The company is using the raw material, jute and corn husk to produce standard class footwear for the Ghanaian market.
When asked why it opted to use jute instead of other well known materials, co-founder of TRAP George Asante said aside its abundance, the company believes jute could be put to many other uses than just the bagging of cocoa.
And the company wanted to reach out to the regular Ghanaian who could not afford other expensive brands on the market but still wanted to look good.
“Our quest is to satisfy the average Ghanaian because most of the products manufactured in Ghana are above GHS100 and only a certain class of people can afford it, but we try to use materials that are common and very cheap on the market,” George said.
But that does not take away the quality. The material is known for its long lasting nature and its ability to withstand any weather condition.
Since its launch three years ago, TRAP has evolved and introduced other models to meet increasing demands from its customers.
The TRAP Butterfly, which comes with a touch of African fabric, The Maize, a shoe made from corn husk and the all new JES-sika sandals. All these come in the crisscross, crossbar, ring toe and the French cross model.
The journey with TRAP has not been a plain sailing one. The challenges have come, but as George puts it, the team is made up of a dynamic and creative people who surmount these difficulties as they come.
It has, as part of its strategy, partnered with other online shops to distribute its products. It hopes to catch the internet-savvy youth who prefer online shopping.
The focus, George noted, is to “build a brand such that no matter what you put on, people would want to associate with it.”
In five years, TRAP hopes to be an all-round fashion house. To be masters not only in the production of shoes, but a one-stop fashion house.
It hopes to move to the manufacturing of clothing, fashion accessories, bags, and anything fashion.
”It is going to be amazing. We are looking at cementing our place as the leader in shoe manufacturing, cutting across the African continent and be a force to reckon with,” George said.
George and his partner, Papa Sika-Andoh want to “win the local league”, thus becoming the best shoe brand in Ghana and go on to take over the continent and the world at large.
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