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19 Apr 2023

Aéris Fontaine, Fashion United

Turkey: Textile manufacturers report brands seeking lower costs & negotiating prices after earthquake

"Kingpins: How the earthquakes impacted Turkish manufacturers", 19 April 2023

...FashionUnited met with Turkish manufacturers affected by the earthquakes of February 6 2023...

To understand the impact of the disaster on the country's textile producers, FashionUnited interviewed three of them at the Kingpins trade fair in Amsterdam, which took place between April 12 and 13.

"Located in the earthquake zone, our factories suddenly stopped working," says Eren Pakyardim, sales assistant at Cotton Fabric...The company was badly affected by the earthquakes that hit its manufacturing plants and also its employees, some of whom tragically died.

Iskur Denim, a textile company, emphasises the difficulty of finding employees willing to work. Levent Bozgeyik, its business manager, said: "The biggest problem of the earthquakes are the people. After the earthquakes, it was very difficult to recruit people who were available to work in the company. The machines were not damaged, the factories were not damaged [located in Istanbul, they were not affected by the earthquakes] but very few people can actually work..."

Bozgeyik continued: "How do you expect them to think about working, when they have no place to live, no place to sleep?...."

Fashion brands’ reactions to the earthquakes

While the earthquakes did not have the same impact on each of the companies, they did cause them all delays in their productions. Iskur Denim now needs one whole month to produce its fabrics, compared to the two weeks it required before.

The company works for luxury and high-end brands, including Massimo Dutti. Its customers have been particularly understanding and patient, as Levent Bozgeyik explains: "They believe in us. Over the years, we have built up a strong relationship with them. That's why the earthquakes haven't affected our contracts.”

Cotton Fabric has not received the same support from its customers. Eren Pakyardim explains that apart from one particular garment group, “the other companies were not very understanding of our situation and preferred to go to other producers. We have a good relationship with [this group], they helped us by being patient when we couldn't work as fast as we used to."

Kilim Denim explains that brands have been more hesitant to collaborate...

Işil Sena Candan, sales manager at Kilim Denim said: "After the earthquakes, brands and clothing companies tried to get in touch with us. They told us that we should lower our prices, saying that our competitors were cheaper than us. Sometimes the brands try to negotiate our prices.”

Turkish manufacturers affected by the economic crisis

...the rising raw material prices and commercial rents threaten Turkish companies. Işil Sena Candan explains: "...Because of rising prices, we are forced to find solutions and rearrange our system so that we don't have to increase our prices."...

Cotton Fabric...faces competition from foreign producers, mainly from Bangladesh and Pakistan, who offer much lower prices than it does...

Part of the following timelines

Turkey: Brands & retailers called on to support textile suppliers & workers following earthquake

Global: Garment workers face mass layoffs, suspended employment & reduced working hours as suppliers report reduced & cancelled orders from brands amid cost-of-living crisis

Turkey: Fashion brands respond to reports of unfair purchasing practices following February's earthquake