The Papua New Guinea (PNG) fashion industry is still in its infancy with a limited number of clothing and fashion businesses. Despite this the industry continues to grow with an increasing number of clothing businesses and individual fashion designers emerging onto the scene. The growth of the industry is also sustained by the increasing number of Papua New Guineans, particularly the emerging middle class and corporate clients, having preference for local designs and becoming more aware of supporting this growth by buying PNG made products.
Larger clothing and tailoring companies, however, have the bulk of their products produced offshore as it is cheaper and more commercially viable due to the lack of affordable textiles, skilled tailors and other quality inputs in PNG. The majority of smaller clothing companies and fashion designers, who lack the financial capacity to source quality inputs overseas or produce offshore, are left to resort to low quality local inputs while trying to maintain their profitability in an industry that is overwhelmed by second-hand clothing imports.
After Dark Fashion (ADF) is a locally owned fashion and clothing business that, like similar clothing suppliers, has the bulk of its products manufactured offshore, mostly in Fiji. ADF supplies clothing products ranging from corporate uniforms, safety, tourism wear and other fashion attire. The company’s vision is to become the premier manufacturer and supplier of quality clothing and fashion wear in PNG. ADF’s production is mainly targeted at the local PNG market, with the business having a large number of corporate clients in private and public sectors where the bulk of its orders for uniforms and safety wear comes from. ADF currently hires five semi-skilled tailors on a needs-basis to cater for smaller orders that can be produced locally and delivered within a shorter timeframe.
To move away from relying on overseas support and materials, ADF is expanding, setting up a warehouse in the city to produce one line of clothing and then gradually diversify its product range to eventually include all of its previously imported products. MDF is assisting ADF with this set-up by supporting them to obtain the latest technology and machinery in garment and textile production such as computerised sewing machines and a sublimation machine so that they can produce bulk orders onshore.
ADF has developed a strong business relationship with its Fiji-based textile suppliers and will be able to source quality textiles from them. ADF’s warehouse is scheduled to be operational by the middle of the year. The facility will engage a workforce of about 30 people including tailors, pattern makers and cutters. ADF’s introduction of digital sublimation technology will be the first of its kind in PNG. Sublimation machines are used for printing designs on fabric with high precision and are a new innovation in PNG. Once set-up, MDF will also connect ADF to the blossoming PNG fashion industry so that local designers can use ADFs inputs and services.
The partnership with ADF will open up a different industry to women and will diversify their skillset, as well as shifting all production onshore, supplying products with good workmanship and using quality fabrics. This partnership falls under the Local Value Addition engagement area.
Website: After Dark Fashion