I was lucky enough to be able to visit Istanbul last week for the bi-annual textile fair, Texhibition, which since its inception in 2022 has seen its visitor numbers soar.

This September’s fair, whose registered visitor numbers stood at 25,000, followed the February show which took place just days after the 7+ magnitude earthquakes.

What was so pleasing to see is the recovery textile producers in the region have made in such a short space of time.

Kipas Textiles, one of the largest fully-integrated production facilities in Türkiye, has a site in Kahramanmaraş and Şeyda Zümrütoğlu, head of sales and marketing at Kipas said while the company was “shocked” in the immediate aftermath of the quakes, it is now close to returning to full capacity, just over six months later.

Kipas is now back up to around 85% of its usual production capacity and Zümrütoğlu estimates that they will be back up to 100% by the end of October, with the help of a new mill which will be installed soon.

However, the company is still working to help colleagues impacted with practical support such as new bus services for staff forced to relocate. Zümrütoğlu says the affected area is also still facing serious social problems and the company is supporting the wider community.

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As Türkiye has ambitions to increase its share of the textile export market this ability to bounce back will certainly help.

Naturally, I was curious about how the buyer-supplier relationship was impacted by the quakes. Sadly Zümrütoğlu notes there can be a “cruel side to the industry” and that the effect of the quakes, some seven months on now, has been almost forgotten and some clients are a little less understanding about delays and logistical issues that continue to linger. 

Just a few weeks ago, some fashion brands were criticised for failing to protect suppliers in Türkiye after the earthquakes, and this meeting with Kipas served as a reminder of the people behind these stories.

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