ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

Turkish fashion was on display Thursday when the 12th International Istanbul Fashion Fair opened its doors to various international purchasers at the CNR Expo Exhibition Center.
Organized jointly by the CNR Expo Trade Fairs, the IF Council and the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters' Associations, or ITKIB, the International Istanbul Fashion Fair, or IIFF, will be held from Thursday until Saturday. The exhibition covers an area of over 40,000 square meters, giving the 342 brands with displays at the festival the opportunity to display their designs and make new agreements with purchasers from international firms.
The opening ceremony was covered by 10 television stations and more than 30 reporters. It was hosted by CNR Expo General Manager Rüşrü Barkay, IF Council Chairman Kenan Koç, Turkey Fashion and Ready Wear Federation Chairman Kahraman Öztürk, Istanbul Textile and Ready Wear Exporters, or İHKİB, Chairman Hikmet Tanrıverdi, and State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen.
Tüzmen cut the ribbon to open the fair and visited several exhibits. He said they were now working on turning the fair into a full fashion festival, emphasizing the aim was to make Istanbul the new international fashion center.
Tuvana Büyükçınar, a successful Turkish designer, enlivened the opening gala with a �butterfly effect�-themed runway show featuring her haute couture collection �Tuvanam� and her ready wear collection for the spring and summer of 2009, �Tutti.� The collection was displayed for the first time, before her runway show at the Paris' Prêt-à-Porter Fashion Fair in September.
Five finalists of the 17th Young Fashion Designers Competition also had the chance to show their creative designs to the fashion world with a runway show Thursday. Fashion lovers had the opportunity to see well-known Turkish models at both the events. The IIFF was started with the aim of presenting the Turkish ready wear sector to the world. The ready wear and textile sectors have a 3.5 percent share, or about $450 billion, of total world trade volume. Turkey has a 5 percent share of this.
Having increased its advertising budget from $600,000 to $1 million, the fair is expected to get more than 25,000 visitors this year. Its organizers anticipate strong participation, notably from Russia, Romania, England and Hong Kong.
Speaking at a press conference before the fair, the IF council chairman, Koç, said three airplanes would fly from Russia especially for the fair.
Women's and men's ready wear, knitwear, kid's wear, sportswear, leather and fur, jeans, ladies and men's nightwear, lingerie, socks and accessories are all on display at the CNR right now. More than 550 purchasing firms from 33 countries, including renowned Puma, French Connection, Gap, Lifung, Next and Top Secret are expected to sign more than 4,500 commercial agreements.
�We liked the participation last year,� said Ahmet Pınarlı, from Uğur Balkuv knitwear, speaking to the Turkish Daily News. �Last year there were really good knitwear companies. This year, unfortunately, it is not the same.�
Filiz Coşkun from Javelin said the British clothing company participates in the fair every year and that they were pleased with the international participation. When asked about the Chinese and Indian �threat� in the ready wear sector, Pınarlı said the company was not affected because its focus was on quality knitwear. However, he revealed that the ladies wear sector had been harmed by increasing imports of cheap Chinese and Indian clothes.
Utku Nişancı, from Massimo Rossi, said, on the other hand, that he did not expect Turkey's ready wear sector to be affected by the increase in Chinese and Indian imports.
The 11th IF International Istanbul Fashion Fair was held in February 2008, with the participation of 335 firms. The fair was visited by 26,538 people in total, 4,126 of who were foreigners. Most international visitors came from Syria, Greece, Egypt, Iran, Bulgaria, Russia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, United Kingdom and Italy.
The 13th IIFF will be held between Feb. 5 and 7, 2009.
The fair celebrates the importance of clothing not only economically but socially. Although coming from the practical need to cover up, clothing quickly became an easy way to attract attention within society and show social status. As the power of clothing was realized, style of dress became more important, leading to the concept of �fashion.�