COVID-19-inspired wax prints hit market

BY: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
One of the new cloth depicting the lockdown
One of the new cloth depicting the lockdown

Last week, social media went buzzing with pictures of the two latest wax prints by GTP named ‘Lockdown’ and ‘Fellow Ghanaians’.

The excitement which greeted the wax prints on the Ghanaian market was to be expected because of the curious names that were evocative and had become part of Ghanaians’ socio-political lexicon as a result of the government’s management of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

On many Facebook and WhatsApp group platforms, people were sharing pictures of the latest designs with excitement, accompanied by comments.

The cloth was specially designed to represent the lockdown

While some thought it was just another hoax or fake news being circulated, The Mirror confirmed that some of GTP’s sales outlets at the Makola Market and the Central Business District of Accra had stock of the latest designs.

The represents the iconic pair of spectacles of the President

The slogans have become popular since Saturday, March 28, when President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a lockdown on Accra and Kumasi metropolitan areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

In televised addresses to update the nation on the prevailing cases and to announce directives for the management of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo always connects with the citizens with the popular salutation: ‘Fellow Ghanaians’.

This symbol strikes the lockdown period

The two prints were designed with striking symbols that relate to the President and evoke memories of the anticipated Sunday evening addresses, or characters that reflect different stages of Ghana’s management of the global health crisis.

Traders selling

In an interview with some of the traders, they showed samples of the ‘Lockdown’ and ‘Fellow Ghanaians’ designs to this reporter and said gradually, customers were coming to enquire about the prints to buy.

Mr Abeiku Adom, a cloth dealer at Makola, said half piece of the cloth (equivalent to six yards) was being sold at GH¢90 while the full piece was GH¢180.

He indicated that for those who wanted to buy just two yards for shirts or simple dresses, they sold them at GH¢30 cedis.

The cloth comes in different forms and sizes

The Mirror sought to unravel the inspiration behind these designs and discovered that the producers simply acted smart by turning an opportunity into a business, cashing in on popular themes their customers easily identified and connected with.

The Marketing Director of Tex Styles Ghana Limited, producers of the GTP prints, Rev. Stephen Kofi Badu, explained that their business was hit very hard by the lockdown and restrictions on social gatherings, which occasioned low demand for their products.

“Our business runs on social events. People buy new clothes for marriages, engagements, church services, funerals, et cetera.

“Since we are in the business of storytelling through fabric designs, we challenged our creative team to figure out how to put a positive twist to an accursed phenomenon such as COVID-19.

“As a result of this, the team came up with several ideas, two of which they have just launched. A few more are in the pipeline and will also excite consumers,” he hinted.  

Giving the background to the two prints, he said the ‘Lockdown’ came in four unique designs with each design expressed in four different colourways.

“These four designs depict some of the lockdown measures. One design depicts ‘No flights’, to signify the closing of the borders. Another depicts ‘Stay at home’, while another shows the easing of some of the lockdown measures.

Reasons for adoption

He explained that the two main reasons for adopting the name were to remind all and sundry of the safety protocols of the COVID-19 and to urge everyone to practise them religiously.

One of the lockdown designs

“We want generations yet unborn to know that once upon a time in the year 2020, a certain strange phenomenon called COVID-19 occurred which caused the whole world to go on lockdown in order to save and preserve the human race,” he explained.

Touching on the ‘Fellow Ghanaians’, he said the COVID-19 story could not be told without the periodic national broadcasts by the President of the time, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

“His speeches always begin with the phrase ‘Fellow Ghanaians’, which has become his affectionate nickname,” he noted.

Rev. Badu explained that the collection was in three unique designs which featured creatively the iconic pair of spectacles which characterised the face of the President in different renditions.

The Fellow Ghanaians symbol with a blend of flowers

“One design shows this motif as on the TV screen; another with his favourite classic GTP design and the last one featuring radio waves as his broadcasts go nationwide.

“We trust that these new and colourful designs will create excitement around the GTP brand and together, we can fight COVID-19 and defeat it totally,” he said.

According to him, all the products were designed, printed, and distributed in Ghana by Ghanaians.