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Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 focuses on denim and a move upmarket

By Florence Julienne


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Fairs |In pictures

Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

From 6 to 8 March 2024, Texhibition Istanbul brought together 25,752 visitors from 112 countries and 560 exhibitors of fabrics and accessories for the spring/summer 2025 collections. The fifth edition of the fair offered the opportunity to discover the most important materials produced by Turkish companies as well as a new denim area. It was also a chance to get to know the perspectives of stakeholders in the Turkish textile sector and to recognise that the mid-price segment it serves is having a tough time in many countries.

The fact that Turkey has its own sourcing fair is remarkable. Before the Covid pandemic, the French trade fair Première Vision was held in Istanbul, but since then the Turkish players have taken on this task themselves and the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Association (Ithib), a member of the Turkish Fashion and Textile Association Itkib, organises the fair. The stakes are high for the country, which has integrated production capacities that enable it to carry out all (or almost all) production steps in the textile and clothing industry, unlike other production countries such as Tunisia or Morocco.

Texhibition Istanbul March 2024, digital animation by Kerim Dündar Credits: F. Julienne

Signifying the importance of the trade fair was the presence of many officials at the opening ceremony on Wednesday, 6th March, including trade minister Ömer Bolat, the chairman of the Turkish Exporters Association Mustafa Gültepe and Ithib chairman Ahmet Öksüz. A predominantly male representation of the profession, as the photo shows. The gentlemen announced their intention of making the trade fair “the most important in the world”.

At the inauguration of Texhibition Istanbul Credits: F. Julienne

All speakers cited figures to illustrate the influence of the Turkish textile and apparel sector, which achieved a total export value of 28.5 billion US dollars in 2023. With annual exports of 12 billion US dollars, the Turkish textile sector ranks fifth in global exports and is the second largest supplier to the European Union.

Although Europe is the biggest market with Turkey manufacturing for brands such as Zara, Mango and H&M, the rampant economic crisis is prompting the country to look for alternative destinations: USA, Mexico, Middle East or Russia (circumventing the current restrictions).

Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

What materials are part of the fabrics produced in Turkey?

At Texhibition Istanbul, the displayed materials were organised in different halls: Hall 4 featured 145 suppliers of knitted fabrics such as jersey, jacquard and wool; Hall 5 showcased 126 suppliers of polyester, polyviscose, viscose and acrylic; Hall 6 brought together 70 suppliers of wool, cotton and shirting fabrics while 121 manufacturers of accessories such as buttons, zips and the like as well as yarns could be found in Hall 8. With regard to cotton yarns, the above-mentioned “almost” applies: Turkey produces 65 percent of its cotton domestically and imports the rest mainly from the USA, Greece and Egypt.

This time, Texhibition also included Hall 7, which was dedicated to the new “Blue Black Denim Trend Area”, a denim area newly opened for the spring/summer 2025 season. It offered original presentations with streetwear creations showcased in a construction site aesthetic.

Blue Black Denim Trend Area, Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne
Creation by Alldenims, Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

In this context, the spectacular dress made from jeans waste (see above), which was designed by Alldenims, is worth mentioning. The company, which is one of the few run by two women, produces denim clothing for an international clientele and also develops its own brand Syga.

Alldenims boothCredits: F. Julienne

In this space (and not only here), exhibitors talked much about sustainable fashion. Besim Özek, member of Ithib and head of business strategy at Bossa, was one of them. The southern Turkey-based denim manufacturer emphasised how important it is for the country to position itself in the denim sector and take on social and environmental responsibility in the process. It uses 45 percent traditional cotton, 35 percent recycled cotton (from collected cotton clothing), 15 percent organic cotton (grown without chemical fertilisers or pesticides) and 5 percent regenerative cotton (agricultural practices that naturally improve soil quality and restore soil fertility).

Bossa booth. Credits: F. Julienne

Trend forums focus on sustainable development and increasing the materials range

Speaking of sustainability: FashionUnited met Pascaline Wilhelm, the former fashion director of Première Vision and current founder of the P W N E W agency, in the Innovation Hub (Hall 8), where numerous presentations took place. The aim? To deliver the key trends for Spring/Summer 2025, including innovations and news regarding sustainable and eco-friendly developments. The focus was on bio-based fabrics, biodegradability, natural stretch, new recycled materials and others, highlighting concepts such as waste, overconsumption and its impact.

Trend presentation spring/summer 2025 by Pascaline Wihelm Credits: F. Julienne
Hub Innovation Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

Other areas such as the Trends Creative Hub for knitwear and wovens also emphasised the concept of sustainability, but combined with a premium approach. With “Silent Luxury” (knitwear, Hall 4), the Luxury Hub, which stands for niche tastes, approached fashion from the perspective of “minimalism of a new age” and emphasised elegance, high-quality materials (virgin wool, cashmere, cotton and wool), exclusivity, uniqueness and craftsmanship.

Luxury Hub, Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

At the same venue, “Vegan Jungle” referred to innovative processes derived from plants, fruits and seeds that offer a range of recycled materials that can be biodegradable.

Vegan Jungle, Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

In the woven goods area (Hall 5), “The Talented Mr Ripley,” based on the US remake of the French film “Plein Soleil”, a summer tragedy set in the world of luxury and laziness, referred to the film’s stylish wardrobe: knitted ties, cashmere sweaters, elegant linen shirts and chinos (cotton twill trousers).

Luxury Hub, Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne
Luxury Hub, Texhibition Istanbul March 2024 Credits: F. Julienne

Does this mean that the Turkish textile and clothing industry wants to position itself in the upper price segment? Fatih Zengin, deputy secretary general of Itkib, confirmed in an interview with FashionUnited that the industry wants to move upwards in light of the collapse of the mid-price segment, which consists of polyester produced in Turkey. This slump was due to the pandemic, lockdowns, inflation and the war in Ukraine.

In his opinion, the country is now a direct competitor to Portugal, but the challenge is to position itself at the same level as Italy. “We want to be a country that makes fashion and create our own brands,” he concluded. At the next edition of Texhibition that takes place from 11th to 13th September 2024, we will see how the range of materials develops.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.fr. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.