Large areas in Turkey and Syria were hit by multiple earthquakes at the beginning of the week. The death toll is rising quickly and the images of the large disaster area are moving around the world. The fashion industry is responding to the tragedy and offering help where it can.
Turkey is one of the major production countries for clothing and textiles, with many factories located in the country. One of the production partners of denim brand Kuyichi, for example, is also located in the affected area, according to a statement from the brand. Kuyichi works with fabric supplier Bossa, which is located in Adana, near the epicentre of several quakes. “We are saddened by the devastating earthquake that was felt in Turkey and Syria. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the victims and their families who are feeling the impact of this tragedy. We stand with the people of Turkey and Syria during this difficult time and will do everything we can to help them recover. We are especially committed to our long-term partner and fabric supplier, Bossa, which is based in Adana, Turkey and is an integral part of our business."
Various clothing and textile organisations from Turkey shared similar sentiments through their online channels. "We wish Allah's mercy on our citizens who perished in the earthquake felt in many parts of our country, and wish a speedy recovery to our injured. As ITKIB, IMMIB, IIB and HIB [various textile organisations, etc.], we have launched a relief campaign to heal the wounds of our citizens affected by the earthquake." The organisations have launched a collection drive for items such as clothes, nappies, stoves and food.
The Puma Group has also issued a statement in English and Turkish expressing condolences to the families of the earthquake victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery. It is expected that more (fashion) brands will also speak out and/or set up campaigns in due course.
Fashion industry responds to earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Marketplace giant Amazon said in a statement that it would immediately take action. "To assist the affected communities, Amazon has activated disaster relief capabilities and is responding by assisting The Red Cross and other relief organisations with their urgent needs." Donated items will be sent by Amazon to its distribution centre in Istanbul and then distributed further. Amazon stressed that this action is just the beginning of the help it intends to provide. "In the coming days, we will work with local organisations and aid groups to identify needs and deploy Amazon's logistics and delivery system to assist with these needs." Amazon further revealed that it has over 2,000 employees in Turkey, but has no locations in the disaster areas. The company stated that it verified on Monday that all employees and their families in the country are safe.
Turkey and Syria are prone to earthquakes and it is not the first time the area has been hit. An example from history is the earthquake of 1999. Due to a combination of the disaster, economic problems and exchange rates at the time, the Turkish clothing and textile industry saw exports decline for the first time in thirty years. However, the industry recovered from the impact between 2000 and 2007. The after effects of last Monday's quake on the Turkish textile and clothing industry is still relatively unknown.
FashionUnited has contacted various authorities. This article may be supplemented later with the latest information.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.