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Turkish garment sector offering speed and quality

Textiles and clothing are among the most important sectors of the Turkish economy and foreign trade. Accounting for about 7% of the GDP together, these two sectors are the core of Turkish economy in terms of GDP contribution, share in manufacturing, employment, investments and macroeconomic indicators. These sectors had a 10,32% share in total export volume in 2015. Turkey is one of the main actors in the world clothing industry. Turkey ranks 7th in world cotton production and 4th in world cotton consumption. The country also ranks 3rd in organic cotton production after India and China. The Turkish clothing industry with a share of 3,32% is the 8th largest supplier in the world, and the 3rd largest supplier to the EU. It has a share of 3,99% in world knitted clothing exports and it ranks 5th among the exporting countries.

With a share of 2,65%, Turkey ranks 9th among the woven clothing exporters in the world. The Turkish textile industry, which is listed in the world’s top ten exporters, is the 2nd largest supplier to the EU. In 35 years from 1980 to 2015, the production and export of the industry shifted from low value added commodities to high value added manufactured items and fashionable goods. With its qualified and educated human resources, design capacity, accumulation of know-how, investment in technology, dynamic and flexible production capacity, advanced sub industry in clothing sector, concern about quality, health and environment; the Turkish textile and clothing industry has a significant role in world trade with the capability to meet high standards, and can compete in international markets in terms of high quality and a wide range of products.

Istanbul is proud of its designers, fashion and shopping centers where it has kept its unique Occidental-Oriental, old-meets-new, and East-meets-West characteristics. Istanbul is becoming a leading fashion and shopping center due to both foreign and local investments recently. The world’s largest shopping centers are opening in Istanbul. Many tourists have added Istanbul to their itinerary for shopping. As a global sourcing hub for both Asia and Europe, Istanbul attracts a number of international buying offices, trading houses, major retailers and department stores. Istanbul Fashion Week is organized twice a year to gain recognition for Turkish designers and brands in national and international tribunes where they present their latest collections. Since Istanbul is becoming a fashion and shopping center, most of the companies have shifted their production facilities to the inner provinces. Izmir, Bursa, Ankara, Denizli, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Tekirdag, Adiyaman, Kahramanmaras and Adana are now major cities for textile and clothing production.

Turkish clothing exports have continued to increase even after the expiration of the global textile quota system at the end 2004, as agreed under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC). The sector continues to maintain and enhance its competitiveness. In 2013 the total value of clothing exports was 15 billion dollars. The sector exports about 65% of its production. Approximately 80% of the clothing exported is cotton clothing. Knitted clothing and accessories, with an export value of 9.3 billion dollars, had a share of 61,8% in total clothing exports, and woven clothing had a share of 38,2% with a value of 5.7 billion dollars in 2013. T-shirts and pullovers are the most important export products in knitted clothing sector. Exports of t-shirts and pullovers were 3.3 billion dollars and 1.6 billion dollars respectively in 2013. In addition, as the second largest manufacturer in the world, Turkey’s hosiery exports amounted 1.2 billion dollars in 2013. (Source: Turkish Ministry of Economy)

Speed to market, a vertical supply chain and strong relationships make Turkey a prime sourcing location

Whether we like it or not, we live in a fast fashion era. The “see now, buy now, wear now” mentality has almost become a normal part of modern British consumer behaviour. High street brands such as H&M, Zara and Topshop have turbo-charged this psyche, enabling shoppers to get their hands on fashion trends soon after they have appeared on the catwalk.

One of the countries at the forefront of this disruption to the fashion industry is Turkey, whose factories have been manufacturing clothes for high street retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Karen Millen and Asda’s George for many years. The Turkish economy is heavily dependent on the fashion industry. Market research firm Euromonitor reports that textiles accounted for the greatest share (18.5%) of total goods exported from Turkey in 2015. In monetary terms, the value of clothing exported reached $16.8bn (£13.4bn) in 2015, figures from the Turkish Ministry of Economy show.

Although the country has faced political upheaval and has been subject to the terrorist activities that are affecting many countries across the world, its focus on supplying fashion to Britain and further afield shows no sign of abating.

“Turkey is a crucial market for many UK fashion brands and retailers, whose fast-track and capsule collections are dependent on very short lead times and high flexibility from suppliers and factories,” explains Peter Rinnebach, senior manager at global consultancy firm Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy. (Quotation: Drapersonline.com)

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