Fashion retail sourcing bosses and suppliers have expressed concerns over the safety of their workers in Turkey as a result of the social unrest that followed a failed coup at the weekend.
“It’s an absolute nightmare as our number one supplier in volume and value is Turkish,” said the production director of one high street womenswear brand, who cancelled a trip after the Istanbul airport terrorist attack in late June and has put plans to send a team there next week on hold.
“Thankfully our suppliers are not directly impacted. They’re working as business as usual and everyone is safe,” she said. “We would normally go over at this time of year but now we’re trusting them to get on with it and we’ll keep assessing the situation.
“Obviously, the longer it continues, the more impact it will have. We’re not making any knee-jerk decisions and we’re not cross-sourcing but if it continues then I don’t know. It’s really difficult to plan at the moment.”
A sourcing manager from a high street multiple said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone in the industry at the moment with Brexit, exchanges rates, terrorism and failed coups … I don’t think it has done Turkey any favours. I am sure most buyers will continue to source from Turkey for the fabrics, trends and quick response, but only time will tell.”
A supplier called it “another blow for the fashion industry”: “The airports are closed and UK retailers and suppliers are very reluctant to let their staff go anywhere near the area at the moment,” he told Drapers as news of the attempted coup emerged.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for H&M, which sources from Turkey, said: “We are monitoring the developments in Istanbul following the recent events. None of H&M’s co-workers are affected. We have safety routines to assure our co-workers’ safety on site.”
She added: “There are no plans to change any sourcing arrangements.”
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office said the situation appears to be calming but the security environment remains potentially volatile. It advised travellers to be vigilant, avoid public places and stay well away from demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul, while warning that the threat from terrorism remains high.
“Security operations to detain alleged perpetrators continue across the country, with reports of gunfire,” it said. “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is aware of security operations in Konya, Marmaris, Van and at Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul (which remains open and operating as normal). You should take extra care in these areas.”