Smart Fashion

On the road to total renewal, the fashion industry has become a source of inspiration for companies in the Middle East.

With an estimated volume of 130 billion units produced per year, the textile industry is a sizeable market. But faced with the impact of the technological push, combined with a growing environmental awareness, the current fast fashion system, which is responsible for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, is trying to begin its re-configuration. In this same context, the Arab world already seems to be announcing its transition towards more accessible and sustainable fashion. The time is ripe for a revolution in textile production and marketing methods. Turkish investment in R&D, the emergence of fashion startups in Egypt, second-hand boutiques in Israel and textile exports in Morocco are the first examples.

Turkey and Egypt: the textile industry driven by R&D and the rise of e-commerce 

In the Arab world, the technological boom is benefiting the major players in the textile industry. Turkey is a leader in this sector. For over three years now, its major groups have been actively investing in R&D. For example, Korteks has dedicated $10 million to the launch of a new production line based on recycled polyester. The transition to more efficient and sustainable manufacturing methods is accelerating in the region, and is supported by a more efficient communications network, thanks to the rise of e-commerce.

If the year 2020 has seen the unbridled growth of e-commerce in Africa, by 2023 online sales will have acquired almost 20% of market share (compared to 6% in 2009) worldwide. In Egypt, The Fashion Kingdom was quick to recognize the opportunity presented by the combination of fashion and technology. By assembling the best international and local fashion brands on an optimized platform, this Egyptian start-up has set itself the mission of facilitating the purchase of clothing on the Internet. Beyond its practical aspect, The Fashion Kingdom also has a social message. Faced with the galloping inflation that impoverishes some 105 million Egyptians, the founders are committed to reconciling quality products with affordable prices.

Slow Fashion — a model already in use in Israel?

Selling better and at a competitive price is a much less recent initiative than you might think. Long before Vinted, the Women's International Zionist Organization (Wizo), founded in 1920, played a fundamental role in promoting the second-hand market. The Wizo enables women to buy designer clothes for up to four times less than in traditional stores. By 2021, the Israeli organization will have four stores in Jerusalem, two in Tel Aviv and one in Netanya. “Before, people were reticent about second-hand stores, but since the covid, they've realized what an economic opportunity it represents. They can buy beautiful items without having to go into debt”, says Peggy Cohen, the organization's president. The Wizo, a pioneer in this field, has paved the way for other eco-responsible initiatives in the Hebrew state, such as the Aderet boutique, opened in 2004 by Atnyel Guedj. This entrepreneur, who has already helped fashion start-ups flourish in China and the United States, understood the potential of the second-hand market. In fact, fashion analysts estimate that the second-hand market will overtake ready-to-wear sales within the next ten years.

Textile industry, between increasing exports and collaborations — Israel, Jordan, Morocco and more...

Israel was the first country in the region to develop trade relations with Canada, the European Union, Mexico, Turkey, Jordan and the U.S. Today, the transformation of the textile industry is benefiting from the strengthening of trade. While Jordan and Israel already have a Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) facilitating the production and export of manufactured goods, it would seem that more and more countries are following suit, thanks to the clothing sector. In 2022, Fatima Zohra Alaoui, Managing Director of the Moroccan Textile Industries Association, predicted a 23% increase in Moroccan textile exports to Europe compared to 2021. Alongside Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, Morocco recently took part in the regional MENA fashion hub event, co-financed by the Swiss and Swedish governments. Aimed at the region's design professionals, the MENA fashion hub workshops are led by international experts from the Mod'Art International school in Paris. Stimulated by the development of multilateral exchanges, the textile industry in the Middle East continues to grow and could quickly adapt to the new challenges of the 21st century.

Sources:  

https://business.lesechos.fr/entrepreneurs/idees-de-business/start-13919-avec-la-slow fashion-des-marques-freinent-la-folie-consumeriste-326606.php

https://kawa-news.com/the-fashion-kingdom-la-startup-egyptienne-dediee-a-la-mode leve-26-millions-de-dollars/

https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/ecommerce/fashion/israel

https://embassies.gov.il/zagreb/Economic_Affairs/Israeli_Economic_Updates/Documents/ Fashion.pdf

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/a-critical-approach-to-the-fashion-industry-598698 https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/culture/1671568149-israel-second-hand clothes-future-of-fashion

https://www.tunisie.fr/vers-la-creation-dun-hub-de-la-mode-dans-la-region-afrique-moyen orient/

https://www.innovationintextiles.com/korteks-breaks-new-ground-for-turkey/ https://www.cfcim.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/1039-septembre-2021-Textile.pdf