According to latest official statistics issued in Ankara, the Turkish clothing industry now employs more than four million workers at an average wage of l.84 dollars an hour.

"While cheaper labour costs are still available in certain parts of the Far East and in North Africa, sourcing in Turkey gives customers the advantage of a more skilled labour force, many of whom now work in state-of-the-art plants ensuring quality standards not easily matched anywhere in the world and certainly not at our prices," commented a spokesperson for the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Association during a recent visit to London.

"Moreover it is now possible to source the whole spectrum of fashion garments for both men and women within the Turkish industry, making one stop shopping a possibility for buyers from western Europe, for whom Turkey is geographically only a short step away," he added.

By Sonia Roberts