The South African clothing and textile industry has suffered massive erosion as a result of increased importation of such items
into the country. KwaZulu-Natal has been one of the hardest-hit regions by this development. Nonetheless, the province has unsurpassed
skills in this area of activity and affords massive opportunities for investment in the sector.
Pockets of domestic activity in this industry sector are doing exceptionally well, with local designers increasingly invited to design and develop attire for top-end activities/persons.
There are a number of very large manufacturers, although the majority of clothing manufacturers fall into the medium-sized business category (50 to 200 employees), whilst there exist some 400 SMME concerns, which largely fulfil the role of sub-contractors to other industry players. This latter group also supplies the informal sector, which is growing rapidly.
The clothing sector is a significant employer within KwaZulu-Natal's manufacturing sector. This fact, coupled with the relatively low barriers to entry, this a highly strategic industry sector in terms of development. The labour-intensive nature of the sector is an important consideration in terms of the labour force, of which women comprise a large proportion.