The economic collapse in Lebanon has affected everyone and made us much more price sensitive to what we buy. The downfall of the Lebanese currency made all the products that are imported much more expensive for consumers to handle. A lot of the clothes that we buy are from international clothing brands; therefore, the prices of the imported clothes also have highly increased in price as much as 130.07%, according to Blom Bank Group.
Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
There is a viable solution to this problem. There is a huge opportunity for local clothing brands, more than ever, to enter the market because there is a market gap in this industry in Lebanon. According to the head of the Beirut Traders Association Nicolas Chammas, 50% of Lebanon’s shops and businesses could close by the end of 2020. Now that 2020 ended, we have seen a large number of companies closing and a big part of that percentage are international clothing brands such as Adidas, American Eagle, Guess, and Mark &Spencer closing all of their branches in Lebanon. It is clear that the timing of local clothing brands couldn't be better to rise because local brands will be able to produce more price-friendly clothes with good quality and the demand for clothes will always stay present. This is an indication that there is a serious market gap that is waiting to be fulfilled in Lebanon.
Therefore, consumers in Lebanon are more inclined to buy local products because they are inexpensive and help improve the local economy. The price increase of clothes, lack of local clothing brands, and customers becoming more price-sensitive has created the perfect recipe for local clothing brands to rise.
At H-shirt, all the process of making the clothes is in-house from tailoring the clothes to printing the design on them. This makes us very familiar with what local clothing brands need to get started and keep going strong. Moreover, this has led clothing brands to partner with us by making their products from start to finish after seeing the quality we provide in our own products.
- Mohammed Makkawi