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The Story Behind The Business of Fashion in Africa

Africa represents only 1 % of the Global Fashion Market

If there is one thing every world citizen has in common, whether African, Asian or European, it’s clothes: we all wear clothes.

Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Dior, Giorgio Armani are all names of not only highly creative minds but also strong business leaders creating thousands of jobs and evaluated at millions.

The global fashion market is worth $3 trillion, however, Africa represents a mere 1% of that.

Africa is yet to give birth to designers that create jobs as well as staggering designs

From South African Fashion designer to Global Fashion CEO

A deeper look into the industry shows that Africa doesn’t lack creative talent, manpower or even access to resources. One of the main stumbling blocks in the industry in South Africa particularly is the ineptitude of our creative geniuses to turn their fashion brands into fashion businesses, that create profit, jobs and make an impact in the South African economy.  There is a need for educating the industry on – the Business of Fashion.



 The Business of Fashion Accelerator Program in South Africa

Threads is a 12-week program taking place in 4 regional classrooms: Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The program is curated by the University Cattolica of Milan and tackles the business side of fashion: from logistics to eCommerce, to franchising right through to accounting & marketing. The program is designed to help South African fashion entrepreneurs step up to their next.


Why does the “Threads Stitched by Standard Bank” model work?

  • Coach based learning model
  • Academic backbone combined with practical resources & tools
  • Taught by industry leaders
  • 4 field-trips to discover South Africa’s heritage and visit South Africa’s best practice institutions

Are you business material?

Join the Threads Stitched by Standard Bank program and be empowered and equipped with the right tools, resources, and networks to grow your business, trade on a wider scale and create a long-lasting, profit-making fashion business.

Find out what it takes to apply for Threads

Reaching International Heights

One outstanding participant will be taken on an all-expenses paid trip to Europe, get a Mercedes-Benz car for 12 months and much more


“Standard Bank is fully committed to driving sustainable, long-term growth on the continent. Our support of the Threads programme forms part of our greater vision, encouraging inclusive economic development for entrepreneurs across South Africa with the aim of creating positivity and prosperity for all in Africa – now and in the future. We look forward to the programme and the positive growth that is sure to come from it”

Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator

“Witnessing a fashion design program with articulated and well-considered tangibles in place to create an immersive and purpose-driven platform for the future of South African design is an absolute privilege.”

Jackie Burger, Salon58 Owner

“Under the guidance and insight of key industry players and stakeholders, we all get to secure the much-needed footprint both local and international of our homegrown talent. It is an honour indeed to share this process.”

Jackie Burger, Salon 58

“It was important for us to see a strong tangible impact made from this programme, that’s why a trade trip to Europe was organized and why we decided to take it one step further, and work with industry experts for all of the individual modules of the course”

Tania Habimana, Co-founder of Threads program and Head of Content & Digital, NONZēRO

““What we’re looking to do is support the entrepreneurs’ creativity with the crucial business know-how, mentorship and support that’ll propel the business to the point where they’re experiencing real growth, and running like professional outfits. The partnership with Standard Bank is a key to delivering on this goal.”

Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator

“Spree has been committed to growing and supporting local fashion since 2013 by showcasing close to 100 local designers and brands, both long-standing establishments as well as up and coming local businesses. This, combined with my personal passion for entrepreneurship and the thinking without limitations that comes with it, makes me look very much forward to being a part of the program.”

Vincent Hoogduijn, CEO of online fashion retailer Spree