Drapers Magazine

08 Februar 2017

Buying and sourcing in Turkey
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 (...) 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 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 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.

Although more expensive than heir counterparts in Asia, Turkish manufacturers can offer faster delivery times and the flexibility to repeat in season. Asia cannot compete with Turkey’s close proximity to the UK, which allows buyers to quickly make repeat orders on products that are flying off the rails or to quickly make changes – for example, trying a new pattern or a new colourway – to existing designs.

“While Turkey has a higher level of production costs compared with typical Far East sourcing destinations, it does offer a favourable exchange rate,” adds Stephen Taylor, senior manager at Kurt Salmon. “Overall, the higher production cost in Turkey compared with the Far East can be levelled out by the benefits of shorter timelines and faster reactivity to market developments.” (...)

Furthermore, Turkey offers a well-developed supply chain, meaning buyers can find most of the fabrics, washing and embellishment needed for their garment requirements within the country, well known for its established textiles and fashion clothing manufacturing industry.

“Turkey can offer customers vertical manufacturing capability, which makes a real difference in delivery times,” says Kurt Salmon’s Rinnebach. “In addition to garment production, it has a strong heritage in textiles – it remains a top 10 producer of cotton, wool and polyester – and has fabric and knit production and finishing capability.” Breaking it down, Turkey exported $8.9bn knitted garments in 2015, $5.9bn in woven ready-wear and $1.9bn in ready-made clothing, figures from the Ministry of Economy indicate.

As Turkish manufacturers are capable of producing a wide range of textiles and finishes, everything for garment production can be produced in the one country, providing a smoother and easier sourcing journey. (...) Turkey not only offers a good-quality workforce, but it is also attractive for buyers geographically. (...)

Taylor also believes the country enforces strict controls when it comes to what it is producing: “Turkey takes a proactive stance on environmental concerns in the supply chain,” says Taylor. “It is one of the few countries to mandate all textile manufacturers to comply with internationally accepted environmental standards, which is another plus.”

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