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Turkish Leather Sector And Branding

Turkish leather and leather products industry is one of the oldest and most established branch of manufacturing industries in our country. The sector has made export worth $ 1.9 billion with 16.4% increase of export in 2013. Sectoral exports are estimated to be 3.5 billion dollars with touristic sales and cargo transportation. Leather processing, which has become an important part of our culture and has a very old history in our country, getting stronger over the years reached its current position. According to international statistics, Turkey is the world’s 6th largest exporter of fur and leather clothing and is one of the world’s most ambitious countries in the production of quality leather products today. With its first quality products, and the point where it is, leather sector is making worldwide productions. Turkish leather and leather products sector offers 1st quality products to worldwide markets with both its own brands and by producing for world famous brands such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci. As the sector, we know the importance of design and branding well. Even as Istanbul Leather and Leather Products Exporters’ Association (İDMİB), we are trying to strengthen design infrastructure of our industry and lead to the original designs by organizing leather products design contests; DETAY. On the other hand, “branding” is a process that can be achieved with intensive efforts and mainly based on company initiatives and we have our own brands in our leather and leather products sector. Some of these brands are opened to foreign countries too.

However, branding in our industry sector can not be said to be proportional to its potential. Branding efforts should be increased in our sector in order to be competitive in international markets. In addition to the traditional leading country Italy, some new production actors and challenging opponents has emerged. In this context, the Turkish leather and leather products industry, must be seperated from the competitors and stand out with its design and branding. Within this context our industry is performing spe- cial and permanent activities in order to increase the perception of brand of the sector and to promote in target markets via Leather Promotion Group (DTG) and supports fashion designers who use leather in their collections at their domestic and overseas fashion shows. Within this context, leather collection project, which was carried out using Turkish leather and fur products with Fashion Designer Bora Aksu in London Fashion Week, was presented to the world fashion press and the to viewers. In addition, a project work has been done for Micam Shoe Fair held in Milan and 8 Turkish Designer, who successfully represents Turkey in the international arena, Hatice Gökçe, Bora Aksu, Mehtap Elaidi, Studio Kaprol, Gamze Saraçoğlu, Zeynep Tosun, Ahmet Baytar, Elif Cığızoğlu had been matched with 8 individual exporting firms attended the fair and provided presentations with special collections, and in this way the quality of Turkish leather and design strength has been uncovered. In addition, ‘Artcore’ project conducted by the DTG has been prepared by Ümit Ünal using Turkish leather and fur products, and this collection has been exhibited in an open platform, and photographed by Akif Hakan Celebi, with interactive participation of the designers, exhibitors and visitors in the APLF (Asia Pacific Leather Fair) Hong Kong Fair. Artcore performance was also repeated in ACLE (All China Leather Exhibition) fair which was held in Shanghai. In this context, branding efforts and activities of the sector has been supported under the Turquality program. Expenses for deployment and creation positive image of Turkish goods, and all kinds of activities for Turkish brands to enter into the market and its survival, apart from expenses of exporters’ unions for their member companies within branding process in the country and abroad, the expenses for activities of Turkish leather products manufacturing and marketing companies for the purpose of branding of their products, spends that occurred for the purpose of promo- tion of leather and leather sector abroad are supported in this context like other export sectors. Finally, being an internationally known brand for a product or sector is not only possible with its quality and effectiveness, it is directly related to the country’s image and brand. Within this contex branding of Turkish leather and leather products sector and improve- ment of its image is mostly depends on the rise of Turkey’s overall image and brand- ing. At this point, we can not deny the effect of İtaly’s branding as a country on their export sector’s success, including leather productions and shoes. Therefore, we believe that, Turkish leather and leather products sector will brand and have the position and share it deserves while Turkey’s image is getting stronger. Because we know that, each country is as rich as their brand, and every sector is as rich and challenging as their brands.

MUSTAFA ŞENOCAK - Association of Istanbul Leather and Leather Products Exporters’ (İDMİB) Chairman of the Board

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