British fashion designer at IAF Fashion Conference and Convention in Turkey

British fashion designer at IAF Fashion Conference and Convention in Turkey

The Woolmark Company brought together British fashion designer Gordon Richardson, Creative Director of TOPMAN, and the Turkish fashion and textile world in Istanbul

Gordon Richardson was a key note speaker at the 8th Istanbul Fashion Conference & 31st IAF World Fashion Convention, organised by the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Gordon RichardsonAssociation (TSGD), taking place on the 14th and 15th October 14-15, 2015 at Hilton İstanbul Bosphorus Convention Centre.

The Woolmark Company is a proud supporter of the important annual trade event in Turkey and pleased to have secured Gordon Richardson to speak on the agenda on behalf of TOPMAN, a fast-paced and innovative men’s fashion brand that produce 22% of their product mix in Turkey.  Turkey is the second biggest country of origin for the brand and they have seen their reliance on Turkish manufacturers grow by 28% since 2013.

Gordon Richardson himself is a great advocate of Merino wool and uses the fibre where possible across his collections, from knitwear to tailoring and outerwear.

“Merino wool sits within our premium labelled collections,” says Richardson. “It has the added advantages of quality and luxury as opposed to man-made fibres that work well for more overt fashion styles.”

Gordon Richardson depicted a key trend for the coming seasons defined as “smartening down”; “it’s about taking casualwear garments and doing them in formal luxe woollen fabrics, this makes product look new, exciting and expensive.”  This developing trend, coupled with the fact that formalwear is a product area that TOPMAN is actively looking to source from Turkey, represents an excellent opportunity for Merino wool and the Turkish manufacturers who work with the fibre.

During the conference Gordon Richardson also spoke of his and TOPMAN’S active support of emerging design talent. He implored the audience to also support this through their businesses if they had the chance and commented, “It is the future of our industry and without them this industry has nothing”.  This sentiment is one that is shared by The Woolmark Company who runs the prestigious International Woolmark Prize.

Also IAF reported on the conference as follows: The theme of the Convention, ‘Making it Better’, was reflected in all sessions. Hugo Boss showed it had indeed implemented 3D digital product development drastically reducing the average number of physical samples they need. Ahler’s Jan Hilger presented innovative forms of horizontal collaboration to make things better, including shared ‘platforms’ for complex products and shared technological knowledge through informal networks. GT Nexus’s Kurt Cavano showed how the use of innovative financial instruments can free working capital caught in inventory, creating money for investments improving further the supply chain. In this session, led by Roland Shuler of Peek & Cloppenburg, Achim Berg of McKinsey showed the ability of Turkey to play a major role in fulfilling the industry’s needs for fast response, also by coordinating production outside of Turkey, in countries close by.

Han Bekke of Modint, Leyla Ertur of H&M and Murat of Attun of Inditex showed in their session the power of collaboration to improve company’s individual efforts to improve CSR and Sustainability. Large retailers are working together in many ways, also on the ground in projects in Turkey. IAF is making connections between Associations, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, international organizations and groups of large retailers and brands. Joint efforts and alignment will make the industry better.
Turkish companies such as Lia Lea, Les Benjamins, 2Wins and Kiğılı provided strong cases of brand building in an emerging economy. Clearly, Turkey shows that continuous industry development can lead a country’s industry from low value added manufacturing to high margin brands and retailers, given of course the right knowledge infrastructure and climate.

And finally, having started with the very big brands and retailers, the last session focused on the role of small designers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers in making the industry better. The Worth Project, presented by IFM director Dominique Jacomet and by director at London College of Fashion, Wendy Malem showed how innovative ideas and manufacturing capabilities inside Europe (and including Turkey) must be brought together to form strong combinations. IAF Designer Award winning designer Andrea Landa from Colombia and established Turkish designer Asli Filinta presented how a mix of inspiration from native roots and international connections make their designs better.

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