BURSA – Rising energy and labor costs have destroyed the perception that Turkey is a ‘cheap exporting country’ in textiles. Although Turkey has turned the problems in the supply chain and logistics in its favor during the pandemic period, especially European-based brands have started to evaluate the Far East again in their long-term plans. Uludağ Ready-to-Wear and Apparel Exporters’ Association (UHKİB) President Nüvit Gündemir said that at this point, the vertical structure of the Turkish ready-to-wear and apparel industry from yarn to weaving, from dyeing and printing to ready-made garments makes Turkey stand out. Stating that increasing online sales also provide the opportunity to sell continuously and at good prices, Gündemir stated that the Turkish manufacturer is preferred with its flexible structure in small production volumes. Emphasizing that a stagnant period has been entered in exports to Europe since September due to the recession and inflation pressure, Gündemir stated that the Russian market, which stood out in this process, offered opportunities to Turkish ready-made clothing manufacturers. Nüvit Gündemir drew attention to the fact that America is also seeking to get rid of a single-centered supply in the Far East and said, “Some big companies have started to make long-term purchases from Turkey. Those who were not very active here started to be more active. There is a huge capacity in America,” he said.
“Slowing down production may be an advantage for us”
Nüvit Gündemir, who stated that UHKİB, which closed last year with an export of approximately 1 billion dollars, can exceed the target of 1 billion 50 million dollars this year, said, “While we increased our exports, which we achieved by 32 percent in 2021, to 970 million dollars, we broke the record of all time. In 2021, our most important export items in UHKİB’s exports were women’s outerwear, men’s outerwear, artificial-synthetic home textiles, other home textiles and cotton home textiles, while Spain, Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and France took the first places among our most important export markets. The increase in exports continues in 2022. In the January-September period, our exports increased by 22.5 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, amounting to 869 million dollars. The energy shortage in European countries due to the war with Russia and Ukraine and the slowdown in production in some areas may also be an advantage for us. Although we have not set a target for 2023 yet, we hope that issues such as epidemic, war, energy shortage that hinder international trade will be eliminated. If this happens, the Turkish ready-made clothing and apparel industry and the member companies of our association will always raise their targets and increase their exports with their power from production, quality and innovative approaches.”
To train a fashion designer
Pointing out that the value added per kilogram of UHKİB member companies is around 20 dollars in exports, Gündemir emphasized that in some internal breakdowns, the added value has risen to over 30 dollars. Underlining the need to develop the digital field for design and value-added products in ready-to-wear, Nüvit Gündemir said, “Turkey will no longer be a country that exports cheap goods. We need to focus more on design and branding. At this point, we need young people. To increase our competitiveness, we need to continue to invest in R&D. With the export of original designed products with high added value, we can achieve success in international markets and strengthen the position of our companies in global markets. In addition, we need sustainability in production, circular economy, minimizing our carbon footprint, and it is imperative that we fulfill this transformation not to respond to the change in the product preferences of fashion consumers, but as responsible global citizens.” Nüvit Gündemir stated that they started the “Pattern Development Training Certificate Program in Fashion Design Technologies” in cooperation with Bursa Uludağ University Technical Sciences Vocational School Fashion Design Department (BUÜ-MTB) in order to meet the need for qualified intermediate staff in pattern and model development in the field of fashion design. reminded. Gündemir said that 20 successful students who graduated from the Fashion Design Technologies Department of Vocational High Schools this year will be trained by the Istanbul Fashion Academy (IMA) and London College of Fashion for 2 years, and the young people who complete the program will be employed in the sector. Nüvit Gündemir, President of UHKİB, shared the 2022 exports and 2023 expectations of the sector with Ömer Faruk Çiftçi, Bursa Regional Representative of the WORLD.