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Fatih Bilici (Texhibition Istanbul): "Our income comes exclusively from stand rentals"

By Florence Julienne


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Fairs |Interview

Fatih Bilici, vice president of the Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association (ITHIB). Credits: F. Julienne

Three questions for Fatih Bilici, Vice President of the Turkish Textile Exporters Association (ITHIB), organiser of the Texhibition Istanbul sourcing fair.

Does the Turkish government provide financial assistance for organising the Texhibition Istanbul fair?

As an association, we do not need to organise a fair, but Turkish textile companies have expressed the need for an event in Istanbul. Previously, Première Vision organised a fair. We informed them that the stands were too expensive, but they preferred to maintain French rates. They couldn't find a suitable location to set up, so they didn't pursue the idea.

We met with officials from the Chamber of Commerce who encouraged us to organise this event at the exhibition centre. We do not receive any money from the government. Our income comes solely from renting out stands. We are not looking to make a profit and it works. Last year was terrible economically, but things are improving. After the Covid crisis, we started with 5,000 visitors, and now we're hoping for around 30,000 [the show closed with 25,752 visitors, ed.]. We've gone from 5,000 square metres to 35,000 square metres. We have 557 exhibiting companies, and 200 on the waiting list. We choose companies that can export and that are green.

What are the main markets ITHIB focuses on?

We do not specifically target the French market, as we do not work extensively with France. Our primary market is Germany, then Italy, Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Morocco, Iran, and Egypt. As Europe faces economic difficulties, we are also exploring new destinations, such as Mexico. The population there is large, and the country presents significant opportunities. However, there are high taxes in Mexico. There is also Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Australia (this is a recent phenomenon, previously, they mainly bought from China), or Canada. Also, Eastern European markets or former Soviet bloc countries. In a few months, we will be heading to Los Angeles with 45 companies.

Do you continue to do business with Russia?

Our companies cannot sell to Russia, but each of them finds its own solutions. In the past, brands like Zara produced for the Russian market, but they can no longer do so. So, everything goes through Dubai: they sell to Dubai which resells to Russia. When the war with Ukraine is over, business should really pick back up.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR. Translation and edit from French into English by Veerle Versteeg.

Texhibition Istanbul