Students in Fashion

Encouraging clustering in the fashion and textile industry


The Turkish textile and clothing industry has been the backbone of the Turkish economy since the early 1980s, when it became the most important hard currency-earning sector. To prepare for the elimination of quotas in the textile and clothing trade in 2005, the industry needed to develop new strategies to maintain its competitive edge over other countries. This strategy required developing fashion trends and internationally accepted trademarks. It also involved modernising the machinery used by the industry, up-skilling staff and training management in market research.

The aims of the project and its core activities

As part of the overall aim to increase the international competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the textile and clothing sector, the objective of this project was to enhance the level of networking among them, at local, national and European levels. It also sought to strengthen public and private support structures for these SMEs.

One of the project’s key activities was developing clusters – regional concentrations of competing, complementary and interdependent firms that create wealth through exports – in the clothing and textile industry. A new cluster coordination agency was established for these networks. This agency also set up a textile research and development centre, which encouraged joint projects within the new networks.

In addition, the agency created a fashion institute, to act as a global shop window for the Turkish textile and apparel sector.

In addition, the Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters’ Associations (ITKIB), a key body within the industry, was given assistance in expanding and enhancing the portfolio of support services it offered to its members. Among the issues it promoted were technological innovation, labour market research and human resources management in the industry.


pre-IPA (before 2007)


  • Budget: €17 million (EU contribution €13.75 million)
  • Province: Nationwide
  • Status: Completed in 2006