Tell us about your business, how long has it been running and what’s the story behind it?

Sarp Jeans, one of the major manufacturers and exporters in Izmir Turkey, began its operations in 1983 as a producer of woven garments.

Today the company employs 200 workers in the field of ready-to-wear and specialises in garments made of woven fabrics such as jeans, gabardine, satin, canvas, poplin, corduroy trousers, shorts, capris, dresses, vests and jackets.

While the company is producing for the Turkish (local) brand SARP, it also produces for private labels all around Europe. The main markets are Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland and England.

Do you have your own design department, if so, where do you get the inspiration for your designs from?

We have our own design office in our facility, therefore we can prepare collections for each brand. We employ 2 designers and we also work with freelance designers.

Men’s and women’s collections are prepared four times a year.For collection preparation, world-famous fairs are visited and all fashion magazines are followed. Additionally, Sarp Jeans is a member of the world-wide known fashion portal WGSN. In addition to working closely with all the fabric suppliers in the domestic market, it has the knowledge and experience of importing from all the fabric suppliers around the world.

Do you find that brands and retailers are increasingly looking for design input from their manufacturing partners?

Definitely; especially brands are getting deeper into working with partners who can provide stories. Design, detail or a story on the production or on the garment is what the brands and retails are looking for.

What design trends have you seen coming over the past two or three seasons, and what trends do you expect to see over the coming seasons?

Design of the product and quality is important but for the coming seasons, more than this, the transparency of the companies and sustainability level of the garment will be more important. The use of chemicals, the use of water and the energy usage will be questioned more.

Are there any core staples that you are always asked for, irrespective of seasonal trend changes?

Yes, we had made huge investments the past 2-3 years on sustainable machinery. Especially on washing process we have the latest technology machines of Jeanologia . Sustainable garments are the core things that we had been asked from our customers.

Do you have a particular manufacturing niche which sets you apart? How do you set yourselves apart from other manufacturers?

Demirışık/Sarp Jeans has become an important player among Turkish ready-to-wear exporters especially in the field of sustainability. In addition to its environmental friendliness, it has started to work with customers in this field in the European market, with progress in work safety, worker safety and health issues at the production facility and in its suppliers. Also, it has GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certificate. In 2016 our production facilities were inspected by FWF (Fair Wear Foundation); besides that we are very proud of being the first to produce the world’s first SWAN (Nordic Eco Label) denim pants and non denim chinos for the Velour brand in Sweden. The great success in this area has created a success story in the ready to wear market.

Demirışık /Sarp Jeans Exports to customers with high quality standards. These high standard expectation reflected in the internal control system created by a 5-year plan with both consulting firms and textile universities. Quality Assurance Expert serves in the company. Internal control is performed according to AQL 2.5 standard in quality control standards. The production processes from receiving the fabric till packaging are reported and every stage of production is kept under control. All of the options that can be encountered with the risk analysis and with control systems. All risks are reported to the checklist by the control team according to their duty responsibilities

Have there been any new technological developments that you have introduced into your manufacturing processes? Do you think there will ever come a time where manufacturing is fully automated or it is the human input that makes the quality differences?

We have both invested on stitching processes and laundry processes

We have high technology stitching technologies such automatic pocket stitching machine, velvet pocket machine, hem chain stitch machine.

Besides for laundry process we have Ozone G2 Cube, 360 degree Jeanologia laser machine and E-flow Jeanologia system.

We think that the automation will be used more and more but for fashion industry there will always be a human touch.

Are you seeing any trends or changes in the way production is moving? For example, are you being asked more about ethical practices or are you turning to data driven production?

Although we have had the GOTS certification for 10 years, last 3 years we have increased our range of customers and production capacity more than 100% due to the demands from customers. Besides the fact that we have high social standards, we are providing a good transparency by providing EIM (Environmental Impact Measurement) scores for our customers. This data is the most important tool for companies who can provide the data to the customers.

How do you adapt to the changes in the marketplace, how do you stay ahead of the curve?

We are following the trends and the change is made with the demands of the customers, now the trends and changes coming from the North Europe and we have 35 years experience in that market. We became like solution partners for the brands for making the changes.

Have customers become more demanding of suppliers? What have the core changes been in this relationship?

The market is running fast so that they are demanding quick responds, good communication and rapid reactions to the requests. You have to be flexible in many ways, so that you should be ready for these all.

What advice would you give sourcing professionals looking for a manufacturer? What should they look for, and what questions should they be asking?

They should look for good communication, best service in many terms and also transparency for all the ways of production.

How can manufacturers and sourcing professionals improve their relationships?

The visits in both sides are the most important way of increasing and creating long term cooperation. The visits that we make to our customers’ offices each month is creating a long term cooperation with our customers. Involving the suppliers for designs or fabric selections and visiting fairs together are creating more efficient garments for the customers.

Are ethical and sustainable credentials more important today?  Is this something where buyers are becoming more demanding on these issues?

Yes , 3 years ago only 10% of our production was sustainable, now we have reached a level of 70%.