Competition includes Chinese clothesWomen’s clothing is varied in Yemen [Archives:2004/792/Community]

November 22 2004

By Yemen Times Staff
Taiz Bureau

Women sewing and embroidery in Yemen are witnessing an increasing improvement since the reunification, boosted by national developments.
The women's sector was encouraged to join the social work and establish societies in different fields. This has given birth to a number of ideas of a handicraft, professional and productive type which serve women in particular and families in general through two streams: the first works on training and qualifying women and the second pushes them forward into productive enterprises to change reality. It changes women from an idle part of the society into a productive creative power.
Women's work is realized through centers and societies specialized in training and production. It represents a pioneering model of service. It benefits women themselves and strengthens their self-confidence to cope with life challenges and bear responsibility for themselves and their children.
Many women have enrolled in training societies and centers that also offer job opportunities in different handicrafts taught there. Sewing and embroidery is one of the significant handicrafts practiced by females. Some already trained women seek finance from centers supporting small enterprises.
They get loans to start sewing workshops or buy sewing machines to be used at home. These centers have helped many poor and limited-income families to improve their economic conditions.
Here we will examine the average female productivity of ready-made clothes, which are made in the workshops of women societies and centers as well as private ones.
Yet, there are problems encountering women's ambitions, that is, in marketing their products. The market is full of clothes similar to the local ones imported from abroad and in large quantities. This has led to low salability of national products though they are more excellently made than the imported.
We, on our part, call on the concerned authorities to foster the products of the women centers and societies and give them priority with traders who sell this kind of stuff.
This subject is better talked about by people engaged in this field. Mohammed Rawih Al-Shaibani, director of the Charitable Society of Productive Families said that his society conducts training courses for women in sewing in order for them to be able to survive life. “Nevertheless, we have our own priorities when accepting trainees. We choose the cases who are in urgent need of sustenance such as widows, divorcees, and spinsters,” said he.
The production of the society is estimated at 15,000 suits per year. They produce quality uniforms for private schools and at good prices, as well as clothes for public schools both primary and secondary.
Mohammed Al-Shaibani said that they adopt certain promotional measures such as clothes exhibitions at the beginning of the scholastic year.
“Moreover, we make clothes according to designs and features requested by clients such as companies and factories. The problem that we face is that the government has opened the country to everything coming from outside, the fact, which has resulted in the importing of Chinese clothes. They largely affect our products. They come from outside without any rules or controls and under plagiarized trademarks. Therefore, the local producer is at a disadvantage, and so are workshops. This goes against the interest of the national production.”
Sawsan Abdulrahman, from the center of the Productive Families Society, said that women are making designs of their own. She added “Sometimes we make use of fashion magazines which are made upon request. The low promotion of the products is because in Yemen there is no fashion houses. I hope there were such places to encourage us.”
Nabihah Mohammed Ahmed from the Productive Families Society said that they meet the demand of companies, factories and schools. “We usually produce between 15,000 and 16,000 suits yearly.
Rafia'ah Hamoud from the same society said that she makes designs according to latest models. “We invent also designs and produce women's, girl's, and boy's clothes as well as carpets. “Through your newspaper, we thank businessmen who support charitable societies and I hope the government would exempt societies from paying electricity bills.”
In Jubari Workshop, a woman worker, who did not mention her name said: “This workshop produces child and women clothes and market them in the following way: We take various samples to the market and see what people want. Designs are either forged by us or modeled after catalogues. We hope there were fashion exhibitions but with decency.”
At Al-Fajr Workshop we met Aref Ismail. He described their products saying: “We produce women's clothes and exhibit them in our showroom. But nowadays, there is a dog-eat-dog competition because of the profuse availability of cheap Chinese clothes. They fill markets, and consumers, due to difficult conditions, buy them. We hope that the government, namely the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to quickly resolve this problem so as to protect the national workforce and local products by putting constraints on imported merchandises.”
Abdulqadir Al-Madani from the Ra'id Al-Yemen Workshop said the products of women societies contributes to the national economy. We exert ourselves to bring about new ideas to keep up to the latest fashion. But the invasion of Chinese has posed threat to the Yemeni ones. The Chinese products enter Yemeni without taxes but we pay taxes and pay electricity bills. Add to that the national product goes through many dealers before it reaches the consumer and this has risen its price.”
Wardah Al-Hamadi from the Women Sewing Center said that they produce clothes ordered by companies and factories, with special specifications.
Amirah Al-Mahdi from the Women Sewing Center explanied that they make dresses, robes and children clothes.
“The well-trained woman can work in a good and appreciable way,” she added.
Nawal Omar from Gulf Women Sewing, Aden mentioned that women have their own ambitions and tendencies. “We sew things upon request. Tastes differ from girl to girl and usually girls come to our center asking for particular styles of clothes.”
She said that there is no regular marketing. “We may take samples of our products and around showrooms. Retailers specify the types they want and we make them. Fashion shows should be encouraged otherwise women dresses will not get the attention and promotion they need. After a while sewing in Yemen may become a traditional handicraft annihilated by extinction especially with this overflow of foreign products. Therefore there must be a society or a syndicate for women sewers to organize and encourage Yemeni women working in this field.”
Through this press survey on the efforts of women in the field of sewing, we have perceived a notable activity and energy exerted by these women. But it is the duty of concerned governmental bodies to take care of the production of Yemeni women and facilitate their obstacles. This will allow the Yemeni women to compete, be creative and gain money in return. The suggestions mentioned above by the people in the field should also be taken into account.