According to a random shopping magazine that I picked up while waiting in an extremely long line to get through customs at Ataturk airport, Turkey is currently the 8th major producer of clothing in the world.
Now, I’m not sure how accurate that is but one thing is for sure: H&M sure does have a lot of ‘’Made in Turkey” labels attached to it these days as do slightly more ethical brands such as Zara. Turkey is also the 8th major producer of cotton in the world and voilà! now it’s clear where all of that cotton is going.
Shopping in Turkey is another experience. Although under the influence of mass production/consumerism, there are pockets of sustainability. Picture salespeople reselling parts of old carpets that have been transformed into pillow cases, bags and shoes.
The Turkish government has also dedicated finances to supporting the development of 100% Turkish fashion labels, but these won’t be any fashion labels. Their motto: ’10 labels in the top 10 by 2020’ means that they are aiming to topple the European giants themselves.
Walking the cramped streets of hip Beyoğlu it is evident that they will get there. I came across several shops selling 100% Turkish designed, sourced and made clothing. This clothing was beautiful, light, simple and clearly focussed on sustainability and keeping things local.
Setting off into the sunset with my new Turkish towel (aka scarf) and leather sandals I felt pretty happy to help the locals out in such a fashionable way.