Turkish Wool Trade Sets Stage for Inspired Industry Workshop

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Turkish Wool Trade Sets Stage for Inspired Industry Workshop

Returning to Turkey for the first time in more than a decade, IWTO brought together 75 representatives of the global wool textile industry for its annual Wool Round Table in Istanbul on 23-24 November 2015.

Wool Round Table Turkey View Istanbul IWTO Wool News

Graciously hosted by Yünsa at their headquarters in the Sabanci Center, attendees came from Argentina, Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay as well as Turkey for the two-day event.

The Wool Round Table is traditionally an occasion for attendees to share ideas and dig deeper into industry issues. Organised with the support of IWTO member the Turkish Textile Employers’ Association, this year’s edition drew inspiration from presentations by members of the Turkish wool profession before turning its attention to a workshop focused on developing an industry vision for the next ten years.

Turkey is the world’s sixth largest exporter of textile and ready-to-wear, whose importance in the global supply chain has been growing exponentially, IWTO President Peter Ackroyd said in his opening remarks.

Benefitting from the upturn in the general global economy, especially in North America, Mr Ackroyd was pleased to note that Turkey’s wool production is expanding, with the country keen to maximize its adjacent position relative to the EU, as retailers for environmental reasons increasingly seek proximity in the supply chain.

The European market is one of the most important for Turkish wool fabric and apparel. 

Opportunities for Wool in the Turkish Domestic Market

Wool Round Table Turkey View Istanbul IWTO Wool News The strengths of Turkey’s textile trade include a young population, young machinery layout, speed and flexibility and EU market proximity, said speaker Professor Bülent Özipek of Istanbul Technical University. Additionally, Turkey’s textile industry has evolved to meet changing demands, so that today it includes marketing, research and design as well as production and manufacturing. 

Turkey’s capacity for innovation was reiterated by the other speakers, among them Bora Birgin, CSO at Yünsa, Nilufer Aykar, Assistant Director – Strategy and Business Development at Altinyildiz Tekstil, Ronnie Danon, wool trader at G. Modiano, and Dogan Filiz, Marketing Coordinator at Bahariye Mensucat, who also urged the industry to more publicly promote wool.

With Turkey’s growing economy creating increased consumer spending power, the country is ripe for a move towards increased demand for wool products, more than one speaker observed.

Ms Aykar drew attention to Turkey’s stable inflation and interest rates, increased consumer spending on apparel and increasing spending by women on luxury and affordable luxury items, especially branded clothing. Her data showed that a significant portion of Turkish consumers look at label content “at least some of the time” when purchasing apparel, and that wool is widely perceived to be safe for the environment.

Agreeing with this positive macroeconomic outlook, and citing to support from the Turkish wool industry, Mr Danon appealed to IWTO President and Campaign for Wool COO Peter Ackroyd to bring the Campaign for Wool to Turkey.

Although wool remains unaffordable to a large segment of Turkish consumers, “consumers who can afford it don’t know how wonderful wool is,” Mr Danon said. Mr Ackroyd agreed the Campaign would benefit from including Turkey, particularly given Turkey’s importance in Germany and the United States where the Campaign is already expanding.

Envisioning the Future of the Wool Industry

Taking inspiration from the opportunities for the Turkish textile and clothing sector, the focus of the remainder of the Wool Round Table turned to a collective examination of a longer term vision for wool.

Part of an IWTO-led development of a wool textile industry roadmap to 2025, the workshop format IWTO generated lively discussions among industry members as they formulated recommendations and challenged assumptions.

Read more about the workshop and its outcomes here.


2017 IWTO Congress - Istanbul: Save the Date

One of the highlights of the wool textile industry calendar, IWTO member TTEA will host the annual IWTO Congress in Istanbul in 2017. The three-day event will take place 15-17 May 2017. For more information about the IWTO Congress, visit our events page.

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