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Beyond the Bale : September 2013
September 2013 BEYOND THE BALE 21 OFF-FARM With Turkey’s growing domestic market becoming increasingly sophisticated and with the country boasting a strong local manufacturing industry, AWI has been investing both time and resources in rebuilding the presence of Merino wool within Turkey. Turkey already boasts a relatively strong manufacturing base – aided by its proximity to both the east and the west – and so AWI has spent the past few years working closely with Turkish manufacturers. Added to this there is a growing importance for retail – with an increasing number of international brands exploring Turkey. The past year in particular has seen the wool industry in the country enjoy a resurgence, with many European retail markets renewing their interest in sourcing products from a base closer to home than from further afield regions such as Asia. The added benefit of this is that both parties on the supply and demand chain are helping reduce their carbon footprint. “Turkey already has an established manufacturing base, particularly in the circular knitting sector,” AWI General Manager for Product Development and Commercialisation Jimmy Jackson said. “Yet their strength lay predominately with cotton and synthetic fibres. “What this meant for us is that we did not need to teach them the basics, but rather how to apply their skills to Merino wool – with the crucial part being in the dyeing and finishing stage. We have about half a dozen jersey knitters who are strong in their field, and AWI Technical Manager (Dyeing and Finishing) Brenda Yang visited Turkey to educate the manufacturers on how to dye and finish fabric from Merino yarns.” The result of this technical transfer means there are now six Turkish knitters with enough confidence to offer Merino wool fabrics in their range, which have been tested against Woolmark standards. Four flatbed knitters were also targeted, with these manufacturers competent in working with wool, but generally with machine washable yarn. “We introduced four other AWI innovations to these flatbed knitters, focusing on Mercerised Merino, Vintage Merino, Merino Retract and Sculptured Merino. Great success was found with Mercerised Merino and Merino Retract, which now allows these knitters to expand their Merino wool range.” So strong is AWI’s belief in the future for Turkey that it recently increased its number of staff in the AWI Turkey office, headed by country manager Mahmut Kocak. AWI CEO Stuart McCullough said, "We view Turkey as a significant manufacturing market with growing importance for retail. We have recently invested in a new office and to grow the team in Turkey, which is a significant step forward in providing the Turkish industry with support to develop and promote high quality Australian Merino wool products locally and internationally." With retail and apparel enjoying such a strong presence in Turkey, and coinciding with the success of AWI’s technical and innovations transfer, AWI brought together UK-based Alexander McQueen CEO Jonathan Akeroyd and famed fashion journalist Colin McDowell to talk at the annual Fashion Apparel Conference in Istanbul about the increasing demand for textile innovation and luxury natural fibres such as Merino wool. More than 800 people heard about a wide range of topics from the economic landscape for manufacturers and brands/ retailers, to new product innovations, trend forecasting and beyond, at the conference hosted by the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association and opened by His Excellency Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr Akeroyd said the conference highlighted just how big a component wool is within Alexander McQueen collections, adding there was great benefit in communicating the way the brand innovates with textiles and luxury fibres such as wool. "It’s not only the quality of the garment make but also what it is made out of that makes a point of difference for a brand,” Mr Akeroyd said. "We already use Turkey as a resource for manufacturing, but there is definitely more scope and expertise here that we as a business can tap into. It has been interesting to see how seriously the fashion and textile industry is taken here, and I am interested in how we can explore this further in the future." FAST FACTS l AWI has increased its resources in Turkey to provide the country’s manufacturing industry with support to develop and promote high quality Australian Merino wool products. l In particular AWI has been working to educate the Turkish industry in the crucial stages of dyeing and finishing Merino wool. l Wool was also a key feature at this year’s annual Fashion Apparel Conference hosted by the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association in Istanbul. AWI brought together Alexander McQueen CEO Jonathan Akeroyd and famed fashion journalist Colin McDowell to speak at the annual Fashion Apparel Conference in Istanbul about the increasing demand for luxury natural fibres such as Merino wool. Wool: a Turkish delight