Blog: Istanbul Fashion Apparel Conference – Day One

Joe Ayling | 5 May 2011

It has been a busy day in Turkey's capital for the opening of the Istanbul Fashion Apparel Conference.

Any doubts about the importance of the country's apparel industry were dispelled by an appearance by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who opened today's proceedings.

Erdogan made a grand entrance to the auditorium surrounded by a mass security entourage and was quickly swamped by paparazzi.

With just 37 days until the Turkish elections, his speech went beyond the nuts and bolts of the textile industry – also addressing addressing education, debt and rising inflation.

It emerged that Turkey is setting a $500bn export target by 2013, with $60bn to come from clothing alone – up from $15bn a year currently.

The vast majority of Turkey's garment exports are to EU markets, where it enjoys preferential access, but a booming domestic retail market also carries potential for suppliers.

Following on from the PM was the co-CEO of Itlalian luxury brand Loro Piana. Pier Luigi Loro Piana said Turkish brands should focus on the value added by local manufacturing to grow, rather than entering any race to the bottom.
In between sessions we've had enough Turkish tea and baklava to sink a ship, more than taking the edge off the continued dull weather here in Istanbul.


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