TERKONSAN men suits a quality mass production

I am waiting in the office of Ishan Kurtar, a room with big red and brown furniture, two honorable framed certificates, golden pencils and a TV which shows every corner of the factory.

He was a tailor and then he became an owner of one of the most successful companies in textile industry of Turkey. I was impressed when I heard his story, the textile Industry in Turkey is big!  According to the chamber of commerce, Turkey is the fourth biggest producer of fabrics and clothes of the world.

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The door opens and Ishan appears with a smile in his face and his friendly old, brown eyes looking at me.

"Excause me, I just came back from cutting", he says in Turkish to us. Our translator smiled and said: "He still just loves to be a tailor".

Ishan agrees and adds that most of the suits, which needs to be tailored are still done by himself.

 Ishan Kurtar appeared not as a big rich company boss, I was expecting, he was standing in front of me with a very down to earth in attitude and a remarkable well fitting suit. I instantly felt sympathy with him.

 

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It was 2011 when Ishan left his little Tailor shop to his brother and build up TERKONSAN.

Ter = Terzilik = Tailor

Kon = Konfektion = Confection

San = Sanyi = Industry

A company for mass-production with 280 people working for 80.000 men suits a day. But, and that was very important to Isahan, with the focus on quality, not on quantity in time.

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We started our conversation and Ishan told me about his employees. They work eight ours a day and have several breaks for çay. He makes clear that it is important to him that his workers feel good to make good work.

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When we speak about his clients he tells me just two Labels, moreover Terkonsan starts to work on an own collection.

When I ask Ishan why he only specify on two Labels he smiles at papers on his desks and says he wants to work with international brands and Labels and there are many who ask if they can bring orders, but I don't want to work to their conditions. Their focus is on time and money not the quality.

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He was shocked when he went to America and saw many men in very bad suits from bad quality and no fit.

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I smile. Finally I met someone who obstinately protect his workers from the Fast Fashion Industry. I became curious and wanted to see his factory to look if it is true what he is talking about.

Ishan let me see everything and takes me through his company. I also meet his Manager who was in expert about men suits in Germany. By the way Ishan started his company by looking at the suits from Germany.

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At Terkonsan the different stations include a lot of detailed work steps. They show me how the plaid fabrics are always cut and sew in a way that the lines follow the same direction - that is a lot of fine work, but it makes sense. I imagine someone in a plaid suit where the lines go in any direction...and laugh.

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The ironing is another big part of the suit production. Any pleat needs to be right and follow the contours of the mans body. At Terkonsan they use irons that imitate the curves of the body to give the jackets the right shape.

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I keep taking to Ishan about his wish to produce internationally but for people who are worth it. I tell him about Fashion Revolution, a world wide campaign for fair Fashion, full of creative people who look for alternatives in Fashion.

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Moreover I talk with him about the Ethical Fashion Week in Berlin, which was called lately called the key of Fair Fashion with style and market potential from a German newspaper.

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After we finish the tour through the factory, Ishan invites all of us for dinner. We spent a long an interesting evening together, where we get introduced to the best Ice cream I ever had - the speciality of Kahrmanmaraş.

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Ishan is very bounded to his home. When we walk the streets we stop often to say hello to someone. He tells me how he sets up his first business and how he became active for him and others and his country, because the Fashion Industry depents on politics. As all Germans know since TTIP became popular - trade agreements rule the global politics. The Fashion Industry is running a very big and very international market. Ishan also talks about the changes in the demand of fashion. People want more and more in shorter time, it seems more as a use of clothes than real fashion.

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I listen and think about that. I agree. It's a vicious circle between price demand and production. As long as people don't stop wasting their clothes the demand won't stop and the production terms and conditions will never improve in countries with bad ones.

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But the trend of change already exists and I want Ishan to know that.

In Germany eight to ten people work on Fashion Revolution. It is a small but very successful campaign, which sets up a lot of awareness for a change in Fashion. Still, of course there are not enough people for the work which is to do. Especially in Berlin Fair Fashion is booming with the Hipster Trend.

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When I say good bye to Ishan I tell him that I will not forget him and his story. He is an very important part of a Fashion Revolution, when he says no errands under bad conditions.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150807005722/en/Turkish-Chamber-Commerce-Brings-Ready-to-Wear-Textile-Delegation

http://www.kmtso.org.tr/firma/10873/terkonsan-tekstil-sanayi-ve-ticaret-ltd-sti-