We compiled this from our short interview titled “The added value of the shoe industry in the leather industry” with Berke İÇTEN, President of the Turkish Footwear Manufacturers Association (TASD), at the 69th International Shoe and Fashion Fair (AYMOD).
We were together with Mr. Berke İÇTEN, President of the Turkish Footwear Manufacturers Association (TASD), at his stand during our stand tour within the scope of Aymod fair, where shoes are in the journey of all humanity from past to present, to introduce the Turkish Shoe Industry to the world and to increase its integration with global supply chains.
First of all, we would like to get to know you?
I have been the president of the Turkish Footwear Manufacturers Association (TASD) for two years. I have worked at various levels in the Turkish Footwear Manufacturers Association (TASD) since 2008. I have worked in many non-governmental organizations in the shoe industry. Additionally, I continue to serve as vice president at the Turkish Footwear Industry Research, Development and Education Foundation (TASEV).
I am the second generation board member of our family company that produces football shoes. I am a Master’s Degree Mechanical Engineer.
What is the place of the leather industry in shoes? What can be said as in the Aymod fair?
When we look at leather in the shoe industry, especially in terms of exports, 46% of our exports in terms of value come from leather shoes. We can say that the share of shoes in leather and leather products exports has reached 65%. We can say that we have a serious participant in the Aymod fair, mainly in the production of leather, man shoes and women shoes.
AYMOD fair has been held for many years, what would you like to say in this context?
Aymod fair is an organization that our chamber and federation started in Istanbul with the participation of companies in the early 1980s. Over the past period, the shoe industry has increased the fair by adding innovations day by day. If we look at its current situation, we can say with great pride that it is the largest Shoe and Fashion fair in Europe with six halls and an area of sixty thousand square meters. For the last two years, our fair has been organized by Fuarcılık A.Ş., which was established within the Turkish Footwear Manufacturers Association. The Aymod fair we are currently exhibiting at is our 69th edition. We do it twice a year. We will be preparing for our 70th fair at the beginning of March next year.
Is Aymod Fair organization international? Is there planning in metropolitan cities as well?
Aymod fair, as its name suggests, is an international fair organization. 53 of the 480 participants are foreigners, which corresponds to 11%. We aim to increase this rate even further to 100%. We have participants from Asian and European countries. Aymod international fair has to be in Istanbul because the center of Fashion is Istanbul and it will continue to be in Istanbul.
The International Shoe Congress will be held in Istanbul in November 2023. Can you provide brief information about it?
Since the day we took office, we have been taking a number of steps to further strengthen the international position of our industry. Bringing more participants and more guests to our Aymod fair is one of them.
We are happy to bring the World Shoe Congress, the most prestigious event in the world in terms of shoes, which is organized every four years, that is, the international event that we can call the World Cup or Formula 1 of the shoe industry, to our country. The congress before us was extended due to the pandemic. It was held in Naples, Italy, in 2018. Our previous congress was held in Leon, Mexico, in 2014. Therefore, it is important that the 7th congress is held in Istanbul. I think it is an opportunity to explain our own industry. The next congress will not take place in Turkey before 25 or 30 years, and it is an event that we attach importance to in this sense. We have important speakers from big companies, the congress will continue for two days. We will try to present it as a contribution to the international integration of the shoe industry.
As the Turkish Footwear Manufacturers Association (TASD), is there a laboratory in terms of education?
We do not have it as an association, but as our shoe industry, we have the Turkish Footwear Industry Research, Development and Education Foundation (TASEV), which we established together with our other industry stakeholders. Our foundation has a technical vocational high school that it transferred to the Turkish Ministry of National Education. We care about our school and give scholarships to our students.
We opened the “Shoe Engineering Master’s and Doctorate Program” with the Turkish Higher Education Council (YÖK) and now we have signed protocols with three universities. At Ankara Gazi University, Istanbul Technical University and Marmara University, we give a scholarship of one and a half times the military wage to our students who choose a master’s program, and a scholarship of twice the minimum wage to our friends entering the PhD program. Let’s increase the qualified demand in this sector. For this reason, TASD, which we carry out through the training point TASEV, has a significant contribution, and we allocate serious resources to both our shoe fair and our sub-industry fair from the fairs we have established. Therefore, we care about education.
Thank you for accepting us as Magazine Leather. Can we have your final words in terms of the industry?
We thank you, we would like to see you again in our Congress. We can also say this to the followers of the shoe and leather sectors, of course, the leather sector we are in, considering the current economic conjuncture in the country and the recession and slowdown in the world, we consider the next year to be a bit troublesome, but without getting too discouraged because in this geography, approximately There is a sixty billion dollar shoe trade. From England to Central Asia, from the Northern countries to the Gulf countries, there is a trade volume of sixty billion dollars within a 3-4 hour flight distance. We think there is still a way to go from here, as we broke a record in shoe sales last year with 1.2 billion dollars.
We think that if our shoe industry, leather industry and our sub-industry sector review their costs very well and price this product very accurately and properly, the shoe industry will continue its dynamism in exports without decreasing its energy, despite the crises, the recession in the world, and the slowdowns.