By Virginia F. Bodmer-Altura
To write on Greece, Greek economy and the textile and clothing sector is not the easiest char. The antic times contribute still a mixture of modern times combined with old traditions. These are the ingredients today for some still insolvable problems existing in government and the administration, not to speak that they can overcome. When you get in touch with entrepreneurs or trade associations, after a few initial words, there is always a lengthy discussion of what the government is asking in view to taxes and how elaborate the administration does administer. Also the missing transparency is another subject. The Greek people would like to overcome the near dictatorial influences of the EU and the IMF Group to solve the debt problem of Greece. The programmes initiated have caused additional difficulties for the Greek citizens, enforced in parts, but life for entrepreneurs became even more difficult and in some ways also endangers the profit situation of Greek firms, and particularly of textile firms. No wonder that textile people are talking of a long period of crisis. It seems that the tough financial programmes and reforms provoked in 2017 some evidence that the crisis might come to an end and the debtor Greece will be able to finance itself again on the markets. TextileFuture paid a personal visit to Greece and followed the further developments.
The Hellenic Clothing Industry Association
However the crisis since 2004 -2017 left also some deep marks in the private sector, thus in turn also on consumption, remarks Meletis Karabinis, General Director of the Hellenic Clothing Industry Association, Athens. However, “the sector fashion was withstanding and kept its level as before the crisis”, he adds.
He specifies that capital control, raw materials and capital were the elements that retained customers for Greece, in turn Greek exporting companies offered quality and flexibility is of importance to all of us.
He continues, “the textile sector, specifically cotton yarns and fabrics faced a crisis from 2009 – 2012, but many companies were able to realign and to hold their market position, however there are some factors spoiling the picture: Energy costs are very high in Greece. The macro economics and the taxes companies are reliable for added to the negative factors. The social society, the citizens were also punished and had to hold back on consumption. And this leads to the prime factor that has a negative impact: Politics.” The keywords are missing experience, politic reasoning, standards and prestige.
Karabinis reveals also that with 19 partners from the textile sector, TCBC and other business partner and research institutions are working on a plan to make the industries more sustainable and to even increase the quality of products. The plan should cover 2017 – 2011. He notes pressure in the nonwoven sector, also the Greek silk sector should see a revival. Prices are increasing thanks to sustainability, creativity and absolute quality. The systematic analysis of the sectors will certainly produce results. Karabinis voices also the opinion that there has to be more domestic exchange between producers and consumers, because only informed consumers understand the great effort of the producers to educate them of the necessity of sustainability, to save resources and to act environmental friendly. He feels that the Greek model of a Textile DesignLab will be an initiative that could lead to a project of a European scope and a lead to a new market model. He adds that recycling has to be enhanced since the technology is not yet fully developed, thus viable.
Meletis Karabinis concludes the discussion session with TextileFuture with some hints to the important history of textile in Greece and the relevant visits to museums of Athens.
Hellenic Fashion Industry Association (SEPEE) is the main representative of the apparel and textile industry in Greece.
It was founded in 1973 as a non – profit organization. Headquartered in Thessaloniki, with a branch office in Athens.
SEPEE is the largest apparel manufacturers association in Greece and its members are apparel manufacturers, textile manufacturers as well as other apparel associations.
Our Association provides a wide range of services to its membership including inter alia lobbying through national and international organizations, collecting and disseminating information related to the apparel chain and organizing fairs, shows, and trade missions abroad.
SEPEE actively participates in Euratex (European Apparel & Textile Association) and in the IAF (International Apparel Federation).
We also have an extensive experience in the management of a significant member of apparel related EU research, training, social, environmental etc EU programs.
SEPEE is the principal apparel association in Greece with the largest membership. Today its active members are approximately 300 greek clothing and textile companies, including all major companies of the sector.
The administration of SEPEE consists of a thirteen member board of directors and a five member managing committee. The board of directors is elected every three years.
The administrative and technical staff of SEPEE is responsible to implement the decisions taken by the board of directors and the managing committee.
SEPEE provides a wide range of services to its members such as:
– Promotion of its members interests in national and international organizations and governing bodies.
– Collection and dissemination of information.
– Development of infra-structure for the sector such as:
* Training center for the apparel and textiles companies (www.endysi.gr).
* The Greek Somatometric Institute (www.bodymetrics.gr).
* Technology & Design Center S.A. – ELKEDE (www.elkede.gr).
– Representation of the sector at European (Euratex) and International (I.A.F.) organizations and governing bodies.
– Participation in E.U. projects beneficial to its members (long experienced in european projects such as: Leonardo, Adapt, Retex, Interreg, EDI, IST, EUMEDIS, LIFE, ARTICLE 6, INTERREG III, MED, FP7 etc).
– Organization of fairs, shows, and commercial envoys in Greece and abroad.
– Development of integrated marketing plans.
– Representation of international fashion exhibitions in Greece.
– Organization of educational and training seminars for its members.
– Publications such as:
* The “GreekFashion Magazine“.
* The guide of Apparel Manufacturers of Greece.
* Studies and research in Greece and abroad.
* Statistical data of the sector.
* Development of data banks.
* Administration and maintenance of this website.
* Facilitation of contacts between members and foreign buyers.
The focus on the two sectors
For an outsider, only temporarily in the country on a fact finding mission, the government actions are not really transparent, but we accept that entrepreneurship in Greece is a full lorry of obligations. In the case of a family enterprise the responsibilities are weighing on the companies, but family firms seem to act in a way that they can invest, that they find business models to survive and to even interest the younger generation to get into the steps of their father. We must say, under the circumstances it need a lot of courage to succeed.
The latest available figures of the Greek Textile and Clothing Sectors
One of the last cotton Spinning Mill in Greece is top
TextileFuture would like to present the successful case of one of the last cotton spinning mill in Greece. We have been visiting Selected Textiles S.A. (Stiafilco) in Acharnai, a family enterprise, and we talked to its President and CEO, Mr. Evripidis Dontas.
Stiafilco delivers since 1970 to its worldwide business partners, quality, flexibility, customer support and reliability. This based on knowledge from cotton sowing – including quality control of all the stages – to cotton spinning.
Even under the most difficult situation, the family company has been continuously expanding and investing in new technologies, new products, employee training and R&D. This was only possible thanks to the strategic cooperation with seed producers and farmers for the selection and promotion of high quality seed varieties. The firm is the only company worldwide to have implemented Jossi contamination control in the ginning process, thus a four stage contamination detection from raw cotton to yarn. It is EN ISO 9001:2000 and EN ISO 1400-2004 certified and applies Oeko-Tex Standard 100. It is in addition one of the first Usterized members and online production and quality monitoring from sliver to yarn based on Uster Expert and Mill-Master. Measurements reliability through Testex certified Lab Equipment and it enjoys also the EU Eco Label.
Stiafilco is the first place in Greece in the production ginned cotton with a market share of 8.5 %. In addition, it is the first place in Greece in cotton yarn exports with a market share of 15 % and the firm occupies rank two in cotton yarn production with a market share of 10 % according to ICAP.
The three Ginning Mills
The three own Ginning mills are providing an annual capacity of 27500 t of ginned cotton. The ginning mills allow to select the best possible raw material, to design mixtures for the own Spinning Mills, and for a very long time. Stiafilco selects and classifies carefully seed cotton before the ginning process and guarantees consistency in bale characteristics. As stated before, the company provides the best solution for contamination controlled cotton. In the labs every bale is controlled and the ginning performance is cross checked, with a minimum time delay.
The product ranges
It all starts with the Ginned Cotton, then
- Cotton yarns for weaving and knitting: combed (NEC 10 – NEC 60), carded (NEC 10 to NEC 40), combed long staple (NEC 24 – NEC 70). Venus compact yarns (NEC 24 – NEC 70), OE cotton yarns (NEC 6 – NEC 36), organic cotton yarns 100 %, twisted and folded yarns from NEC 2/10 to NEC 2/70, NEC 3/10 to NEC 3/70, NEC 4/10 to NEC 4/70, as well as Gazed mercerized yarns from NEC 2/30 to NEC 2/80.
- Dyed Yarns: Cotton 100 %, Organic cotton 100 % single and twisted, gazed mercerized, single and twisted, Acrylics and mixed (acrylic, wool, nylon, viscose) single and twisted.
- Treated bi-products: Cotton seed, gin motes, cotton waste (GINA), cotton waste (SPINNA), carded waste, thread waste, cotton combers waste.
The firm exports 65 % of its total yarn production to more than 29 countries worldwide.
The four Spinning Mills
The four spinning Mills entail 100000 ring spindles and 1120 OE spindles, these deliver 48 t/day of high quality yarn. The mills operate with the motto “Every previous stage in the textile industry should ensure that the needs of the next stages are served fully and in an optimum way.
- Consistency in the cotton mixtures. Selection of the best cotton, leaned from contaminants in four stages.
- Machine adjustments according to our target for the least possible damage to the fibre.
- Quality control inside the mill with via online monitoring of 100 % of the production from sliver to yarn.
- Highly advanced fibre and yarn laboratory certified by the most recognised organisations.
- Conformity to ISO quality and environmental standards.
- Preventive maintenance oriented.
- Excellent trained and efficient personnel
- Latest technology equipment.
In addition TextileFuture adds an interview with Constantin Meyer, Authorized Representative, Otto Stadtlander Gmbh, Bremen, Germany, conducted by Bremen Cotton Exchange:
What are the qualities that make Greek cotton desirable for the market?
Due to the market proximity to European production and short distances Greek cotton has a comparatively low ecological footprint. Two ports also ensure optimal shipping to the Far East. In Europe, no GMO cotton may be grown. The technical values of Greek cotton have improved again considerably in recent years. In the past, average fibre length was 1.3/32. Today it is 1.1/8 to 1.5/32 inch. At 29 to 32 g/tex, the strength is higher than in the past. The degree of whiteness is mostly between 31 and 41. There is also a small production of long staple cotton. Its average fibre length amounts to 1.3/8 to 1.7/16. The biggest risks in marketing lie in the weather. If it rains in times when the cotton capsules are open or there is frost, the colour changes from white to light spot- ted/spotted or flat/light grey. This season, the total crop amounts to a 10 % increase over the previous year with approximately 250000 tonnes, of which nearly 90 % will be exported. We are assuming an unsold quantity from this year’s harvest of just under 100,000 tonnes. Otto Stadt- lander offers Greek cotton ex-stock in Greece. Because of its good quality, we no longer sell the cotton only in Europe, but increasingly to Egypt, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and China.”
(Excerpt from Cotton News by Bremen Cotton Exchange www.baumwollboerse.de )