9/4/2009

Turkey eager to carve out new niche in global fashion industry

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - Turkey is seeking to carve out a new niche in the global fashion market by promoting its dynamic generation of young designers. With a solid reputation for textiles and production for big international brands like GAP and Dolce & Gabbana, it sees its home-grown creativity as the best strategy to combat the threat to the sector from China and the Far East. “Our target is to make Istanbul one of the top five world fashion capitals, alongside Paris, Milan, New York and London”, Hikmet Tanriverdi, the new Chairman of ITKIB, the body representing manufacturers and designers told AFP. Tanriverdi was the prime mover behind the just-ended Istanbul Fashion Days, the first event to present designers and brands under one roof to invited international press and buyers. The initiative has enthusiastic government backing, with good reason: 55 percent of Turkey’s exports are to Europe, of which 82 percent are in the apparel sector. Zafer Caglayan, the Turkish Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said Turkey is already “an address for good quality clothing” and added that it needs to develop strong brands with wider recognition. He is optimistic about the sector’s future, while frustrated at delays in Turkey achieving its goal to become a full member of the European Union. “When it does, the EU’s border will touch Asia. Turkey is a bridge, an excellent corridor between East and West. It is only four hours by plane to more than 50 countries – a quarter of the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s economy.” Odile Baudelaire, a Paris-based agent who advises the buyers of specialty stores like Nordstrom in the United States and Myer in Australia said, “The price is a bit higher in Turkey than China but creativity and design are much better. So are the fabrics.”
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