Istanbul’s IFCO Fashion Trade Show to Fuel Turkish Brands – WWD

MILAN — A well-known apparel manufacturing hub, Turkey is perhaps less in the spotlight for its designer brands, a gap that IFCO, the Istanbul Fashion Connection trade show, aims to fill.

“IFCO is making significant strides towards becoming the new hub for the global fashion industry, attracting both domestic and international participants with its diverse product range and innovative events,” said Mustafa Paşahan, vice president of the Istanbul Apparel Exporter Association, the fair’s organizer.

He stressed how the local fashion industry has grown beyond just manufacturing to incorporate design skills. “In this sense, the industry is providing more than full package service to global buyers,” Paşahan said. “Most of the companies in the Turkish apparel industry have their own brands, in addition to serving as manufacturers,” he added.

The three-day fashion and accessories trade show kicks off Wednesday at the Istanbul Expo Center, gathering more than 400 brands and expecting to draw about 30,000 buyers from more than 100 countries. By comparison, last February the fair displayed almost 600 brands and attracted the same number of visitors.

Displaying the best of Turkish fashion across categories, as well as exhibitors from Eastern European countries, the trade show offers representation to men’s and womenswear, kidswear, sportswear, underwear, as well as leather and fur accessories and footwear.

Now in its fourth edition, IFCO is prioritizing brands that have proved “creativity, quality production, [ethical] supplying processes and marketing prowess,” Paşahan said. These include B&G Store, Climber BC, Damat, Giovane Gentile, Hatemoğlu, Ipekyol, Kayra, Kiğılı, Lufian and Jakamen Naramaxx, to name a few of the brands which have managed to scale up their business and stand out on the international scene.

A dedicated area in Hall 7 of the Istanbul Expo Center fairgrounds will spotlight Turkish designer brands, as part of a broader goal to wave the “Made in Turkey” flag. Called The Core Istanbul, it intends to favor business relationship between international buyers and brands that have already presented their collections elsewhere, including at London, Paris and New York fashion weeks. They include, among others, Arzu Kaprol, Ceren Ocak, Essin Barış, Fulya İlkmen/F.Ilkk, Mehmet Emiroğlu, Murat Aytulum, Nejla Güvenç/Nej, Özlem Erkan, Selin Küçüksöz, Tuba Ergin and Yakup Biçer/Y Plus. A dedicated section called Fashionist will give credit to the flamboyant creations of eveningwear and bridalwear brands.

Activities on the fairground are poised to be zuzhed up by lectures and panel conversations on various topics including sustainability, gala nights, a trend area curated by the Istanbul Fashion Academy, or IMA, as well as the IFCO Fashion Show grouping different exhibitors on the catwalk.

The sustainability spotlight will be curated by Ekoteks, a Turkey-based nonprofit, independent laboratory known for providing fashion companies throughout the supply chain with research and development, product certifications, control on environmentally harmful chemicals, material analysis and more.

IFCO is organized by ITKIB Fairs, a subsidiary of Istanbul Apparel Exporter’s Association, the organization representing the Turkish fashion and apparel industry, which bills itself as the third-largest European exporter with sales of $19 billion.

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