As Turkey cautiously considers the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the denim production business heads back to business. One of the companies is the mill Calik Denim that reopened its production facilities on May 4.
We asked Calik Denim’s general manager Fatih Doğan about the current situation, the business prospect for this year and which events and trade shows the company will attend.
You reopened the facilities about a week ago. What does business reality look like after several weeks of Covid-19 lockdown?
It is a refreshing new start for Calik Denim. Our workers will be coming back to a much safer company and we will be prepared to handle any medical eventuality.
What does that mean in detail?
That refers to measures such as thermal cameras at factory entrances, the distributions of masks and face shields to workers in close quarters; as well as hygiene and safety training and information for Calik Denim employees as part of their comprehensive precautions. We have coordinated our planning with the Turkish Ministry of Health and used their Online Coronavirus Control application to map the risk assessment for all our employees.
It is true that we had a little break due to the global pandemic, but we want all our associates to know that a “pause’” does not mean a “stop” at Calik Denim. Even during the factory closure, all our employees used online technologies and actively kept working on our new collection. Work is well underway for the company’s new collection and exciting, innovative new products.
In your opinion: What has changed in the denim industry in general since Corona spread? Did you experience more solidarity between players or less?
As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic had deep effects in Turkey and the rest of the world. The effects of the pandemic went beyond medical emergencies and the loss of life. Throughout the world, economy activity has been impacted at a level unseen since the Second World War.
In the textile industry and of course in the denim industry, too, there has been a slowdown, and a temporary break in production. This is caused by the sudden drop in consumer demand and retail sales; because shopping malls, high streets and stores around the world have been closed due to social distancing. The shelves are full but the stores remain closed.
The world and humanity are changing because of this hard time. The way of doing business also must keep up with this change. Business partnerships are becoming more important than ever. It is important that in times like these, everyone must focus on what they can do to help.
In the case of Calik: Do your clients support you or did you see a lack of support? Have orders been cancelled, and if so, could you negotiate?
We believe that being not only a supplier but also a solution partner of our customers makes us privileged. As Calik Denim, not only with our products, we always accompany our business partners with our service provided and solution partner understanding. As an industry, it will of course be necessary for all the rings in the chain to take on responsibility. The situation in the world due to the pandemic, the curfew restrictions we see in many countries, the closure of shopping malls and stores even for a temporary period, affected all brands negatively. This is not only for the textile industry; valid for all sectors globally... And as Calik Denim, we are always with our business partners!
There is no special support to Turkish denim production industry, but Turkey is supporting the real sector and lower-income groups in the face of Covid-19 with a record 200 billion Turkish lira ($28.5 billion) Economic Stability Shield package. Thanks to measures taken by the government, the country's economy and production will quickly return to normal. The country announced it would support salary payments, postpone loans and provide flexibility for taxpayers to protect markets amid the uncertainty caused by the outbreak. There are also some other supports like postponing the capital and interest payments of the credits used by the companies that have adversaries in cash flows due to the epidemic for at least three months and providing additional financial support if necessary and providing stock financing support to exporters to maintain capacity utilization during the periodic slowdown in exports.
Turkey stands out as one of the countries that tok precautions very early on, and we will see how things progress on the economic front.
How do you plan to compensate for the losses that piled up during the lockdown?
First of all, as Calik Denim, we do not see this period as a "loss.” In fact, on the contrary, we believe that it is a wake up call for the whole world… Sustainability is at the center of our business model; we think that it creates awareness for both end consumer and companies that are not aware of this. In this sense, perhaps this period that we all spent with fear and uncertainty; we will remember it as a period when the universe tells us about the importance of consciousness and enables us to realize it.
In addition, the importance of digitalization was once again demonstrated, since the entire world had to provide social isolation during the quarantine period caused by Covid-19. When examined both corporations and individually; from end-consumers’ shopping preferences to business models, we see that the world has evolved into a new order. Undoubtedly, newness is waiting for us in many fields! We, as Calik Denim, with our young and experienced structure, ssee the benefit of being a company that keeps up with innovations, "Ever Evolving" and has a flexible structure...
Some say that the opportunities to push sustainable production are better than ever. Others think that currently companies must deal with other problems than sustainability (losses in turnover, etc.). What do you think?
We are currently experiencing an era where the nature and environment-oriented approaches as well as humanitarian development become prominent for development of the countries and for perpetuity of the economies. This also means that economy and sustainability must be balanced. All economic, environmental and social issues from the demonstrations on the climate change to social inequalities are currently amongst the agenda items for many individuals and agencies, as reflected precisely by the Sustainable Development Goals published under guidance of the United Nations. There is a need to act with the common sense for the societies on the world that are deprived of even the most fundamental needs. Because unsustainable companies will not be able to continue their existence in the very near future. We are considering ourselves as an integral part of this motion and shaping our endeavors in this respect.
In this respect, we signed the United Nations Global Compact a year ago to further cement our pledge to sustainability, and make our efforts known to international platforms. Calik Denim, well-known in the industry for its sustainable processes and products, and our decision to sign the Global Compact is indicative of a mind-set “which suggests universal principles and adopts an innovative corporate responsibility approach in order to establish a joint development culture in the business world that is in a constant competition.”
The textile industry is undergoing a fundamental shift in the face of changing consumer behaviors, technology and digitalization, climate change, resource scarcity and demographic change. To counter these challenges and preserve its leading position in the denim industry, Calik Denim integrates sustainability into its business model through its “Passion for Denim, Passion for Life” sustainability strategy, built on the concept that making positive impact creates a better life. Our philosophy is that through collaboration with stakeholders; mitigating impacts on the environment, and the development of proprietary, sustainable products, Calik Denim can take aim at “[leading] change and responsible fashion concept in denim industry.”
We invest in sustainability not only for our own production processes, but also to make our customers’ lives easier by helping them reduce their consumption of resources. Along with the responsible-fashion perception of Calik Denim, we are taking firm steps towards becoming the pioneer of new trends to meet consumer needs.
Defined by innovation and sustainability, we continue to grow our skills in denim engineering by introducing 'Functionage' developed by Washpro technology and 'Skinlithe' as our brand-new concepts in our collection.
Functionage is our newest sustainable concept: Unconscious and over-intense washing of denim products consumes resources such as water, energy, chemicals and results in environmental pollution. Thanks to Functionage’s unique technology named Washpro, the consumer does not need to wash frequently to clean the jeans produced with the Functionage concept. Functionage will eliminate the customer concerns about cleaning, and a serious step will be taken in terms of resource saving.
Skinlithe is the answer to consumers' needs for comfort, especially for “Generation Z.” Skinlithe will break ground in the industry with its 'Follows the Body' feature... Thanks to specially developed yarn, jeans made with the Skinlithe concept have an elasticity of 60-100%. The concept offers a soft-to-touch-texture and ultra-comfort and has another feature that never pressures the body while following the body, will be especially preferred by people who are addicted to sportswear for ease of movement.
We also redefine some of our existing concepts within the industry. The concepts that make this possible are Denethic and Selfsized.
Denethic offers rinse and enzyme washed looks as well as bleached-look fabrics. As the fabrics are produced at the mill with the wash effects, Calik’s customers who want to get clean-look garments can even use them fabrics even as cut and sew. Besides, for those who are looking for heavy wash effects on denim garments to reach an authentic/vintage denim look, they can get these effects by laundering with less water, less chemicals, less energy and less time compared to the regular denim fabrics. The concept includes vintage look and crosshatch fabrics both in mid and light wash looks.
Selfsized amazed people with its unique feature that one single size jean can fit a wide range of different sized wearers perfectly, due to its ultra-high elasticity and cotton content for maximum comfort and softness. With this feature, we minimize the risk of buying wrong size jeans–especially in e-commerce. The Selfsized concept includes articles with feminine and premium looks with soft hand feeling, authentic denim-look fabrics with salt and pepper effects and vintage washes. Selfsized is also a really good option for the men with its masculine look, thanks to its textured surface. All self-sized denim products have been developed with Calik Denim’s T-Power technology to eliminate elastane yarn slippage. The concept also offers good wash effects.
What are the plans for Calik Denim’s appearance at trade shows for 2020 and the first half of 2021? At which shows will you exhibit?
We participate in the trade shows like Kingpins, Munich Fabric Start, Denim Première Vision and Liberty Las Vegas every year…. But we already saw the cancellation of several events in China, Italy, US and elsewhere. We will wait and see how these trade shows will be organized in this situation. Some trade shows are becoming online platforms, as we saw at Kingpins Amsterdam in April.
With the new period, we think that most of the trade shows will take place through digital platforms. By monitoring the developments in the world and Turkey we will decide on our participation in the events. Because the health and safety of our employees comes first for us.
Will the Ever Evolving Talks by Calik Denim take place in October as planned?
Ever Evolving Talks by Calik Denim event made a serious impact globally, both in 2018 and 2019. We are really happy about this and continue to prepare for that day of the year with great enthusiasm every year... This year, too, we’ve planned it to be held a day before the Kingpins Amsterdam October edition. But of course, in the coming days, we will be restructuring our project according to the conditions both globally and in the Netherlands. We might take our place on the digital platform for "Ever Evolving Talks by Calik Denim.”