Top shop apologises for selling locally manufacturedgarments as imports

One of South Africa's top fashion outlets, Spitz, has been passing off some locally manufactured merchandise as imported garments.

One of South Africa's top fashion outlets, Spitz, has been passing off some locally manufactured merchandise as imported garments.

This has been happening since the end of last year and thousands of fashion conscious shoppers countrywide have snapped up the items thinking they were "Italian Made", as the labels purported. These garments were also on sale during the Christmas shopping rush.

Spitz acknowledged to Sowetan that consumers were not informed that Kurt Geiger golf shirts were no longer imports, but that they were now being manufactured in South Africa.

The chain store thanked Sowetan for bringing this matter to their attention. They have now changed the misleading labelling.

Spitz head office merchandise manager, Lawrence Loffstad, acknowledged that it was misleading to sell South African-made garments as imports.

One peeved customer, Lucky Mavuso, believed, and rightly so, that he had been given a raw deal when he snapped up one of the garments at this year's January sale when prices were greatly reduced.

His R395 Kurt Geiger golf shirt had a "Made In Italy" label inside the collar, but Mavuso, a fashion fundi, was not happy with the texture of the garment. After further scrutiny he noticed "Made in South Africa" on the washing instruction tag.

Feeling betrayed, Mavuso returned the designer golf shirt and asked for a refund. The shop refused.

"If Spitz no longer imports Kurt Geiger shirts they must say so and not sell us Fong Kongs

"I can go to China City if I want one [Fong Kong]," said Mavuso.

Fong Kong is the local lingo for describing goods of inferior quality, and China City refers to the mushrooming number of Chinese retailers in town who have taken the textile market by storm with sub-standard quality and cheaper clothing.

Sandton City Spitz store manager, Adrea Austin, agreed to credit Mavuso's account after Sowetan took up the matter.

She said they no longer import Kurt Geiger golf shirts because it was too costly.

"If we were to import these shirts they would cost the consumer R700," she said.

Austin said they now only imported the raw material, then designed and manufactured the shirts in South Africa. This new practice started in August.

Loffstad said this also helped to boost local manufacturing.

Mavuso has returned the shirt and is happy that his account has been credited with R395.

There are eight South African companies manufacturing these designer shirts, he said. They are based in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Loffstad apologised to Mavuso.

This week Sowetan visited some Spitz outlets and saw that the labels in the new range of Kurt Geiger shirts state that the garments are made in South Africa with material imported from Italy.