Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 16th Istanbul Apparel Conference organised by the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers’ Association (TGSD), overlooking the magnificent Bosporus Strait in Istanbul.

The conference was based on the theme “transformative journey” and highlighted the apparel industry’s next chapter with topics ranging from traceability, transparency and sustainability to the impact of artificial intelligence on design and new EU regulations.

TGSD co-chair Ramazan Kaya, emphasised that the Turkish apparel industry needs to adapt its journey and transform in line with current pressing issues such as climate change.

He noted there are some key dynamics influencing the industry, such as the replacement of fast fashion with slow fashion and a shift from China being the go-to for fashion sourcing thanks to the ongoing US-China trade war, which he said also raised the question of supply security.

Kaya believes tensions between the US and China presents an opportunity since buyers are on the lookout for alternative sourcing countries. Adding that the most important element to establishing Türkiye’s apparel industry as the alternative is ensuring it can offer the right “scale” and “size”.

However, he pointed out that scaling alone wouldn’t be enough. In order for the Turkish Apparel Industry to stand out, there has to be equal focus on facets like sustainability, green transformation, circularity and thus, the need for a wider transformative journey.

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Only time will tell how Türkiye’s apparel sector will reposition itself as a lucrative sourcing destination, but we will be publishing more articles from the conference this week to provide greater insights on its upcoming transformation.

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