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Interview with Bora Akris

Bora Akris
Bora Akris
Sales & Marketing Director

Realkom's most important policy is to respect environment

Realkom, headquartered in Istanbul, is a fully integrated textile company with a dedicated team of 1500 employees. Bora Akris, Sales & Marketing Director, Realkom, speaks to Fibre2Fashion on the values underlying the Realkom brand and its proven strategies to remain competitive in the Turkish market of garment production.

What is the story behind formation of Realkom? Who are the founders of the company?

We began our journey by distributing denim fabrics from far east. The beginning was enthusiastic, and we had a steady growth. We had developed a strong passion for denim and wanted to deliver the same passion to our end consumers. So we three partners - Yusuf Yosi Ozlevi, Erkan Kayhan and Murat Ozturk, started our garment business by 2001.

Today Realkom is at the forefront of creation of non-denim and jeans products with a special emphasis on quality, cost and precise delivery of our products. And we do this through research, innovation and a sharp focus on our customers' expectations while ensuring a sustainable impact on our environment. 

What are the values underlying Realkom?

Realkom's most important policy is to respect the environment. All our strategies and investments revolve around this. Reducing the impact of our activities on our environment via eco-innovative solutions, fighting against chemical pollution, optimising energy savings, are our permanent objectives. The circular economy that aims to go beyond the linear model of 'extracting, manufacturing, consuming and disposing' is the new black. In fashion, this would result in responsible consumption of natural resources and raw materials as well as lead to prevention of waste products. In order to build a global and integrated circular economy, the operational machines, infrastructure, and fields invested by Realkom for many years, are grouped into one and the same priority 'Circular Economy' in 5 areas: 
  • Water use, 
  • Chemical use, 
  • Waste management, 
  • GHG emissions and climate change, 
  • Energy management. 
To achieve the intended outcomes in terms of improving environmental performance, our company has established an Environmental Management System 4.0, including processes in accordance with the 14001 Environmental Management Standard. Realkom also plans to obtain ISO 50001 Energy Management System certification this year. The impact of ISO 50001 include energy, CO2 emissions, and cost savings. To that extent, the certification process has helped us to manage our efforts better on GHG emissions, climate change and energy management.

What are the values underlying Realkom?

What is Realkom's garment production capacity? How much is it going to increase in the next 5 years?

We produce 7 million pieces of denim and non-denim products per year. This brings around €90 million annual turnover. Our near future strategy is a healthy 2-digit growth number for each year with the help of creative automation and digitalisation. We are increasing our internal efficiency day by day and able to offer more competitive products, thereby getting bigger share of the market.

How competitive is the denim market of Turkey with respect to the global market? What are its strengths?

Absolute newness and innovation in fashion-oriented products are the strengths of the denim market of Turkey. Some other factors are state-of-the-art machinery lines, smart sustainable wash techniques and cost-effective collections with wide varieties of colour and wash range by innovative fabric mills.

Going ahead, what factors will be the major boosters for your products?

The major boosters will be garments which are fashion oriented yet sustainable products. We do not compromise on the general outcome just because they are made of sustainable fabric and wash techniques. We have well trained staff and sustainable smart wash assembly which can develop and produce commercially priced, competitive sustainable products on fashion market.

Who are your target audience?

Apparently today all focus is on sustainability and sustainable products. We develop and innovate products through least impact on our environment which has become almost 50 per cent of our collection today and increasing day by day. Our target audience are all big retailers, wholesalers and online brands. Whosoever likes to wear a nice pair of jeans is our target audience.

Who are your target audience?

Which are the major brands who buy from you? What are the fabric specifications usually provided by them?

Our strongest markets are Scandinavia, Netherlands and Norway. Also, we have some strong customers in Italy and Spain.

We offer a variety of collections including all fabric combinations based on the requested product group. Trend topic of the year is several different combinations of organic and recycled cotton, recycled polyester, Repreve, Modal and Tencel fibres.

Where do you source your raw materials from?

We develop new ideas and products together with our partner vendors from Pakistan, Turkey and China and produce exclusive fabrics for our collections. We use our own developed fabrics in our collections. Also, we maintain a running 3-4 million meters of fabric stock to offer extensive options.

What differentiates your denim products from other players?

Realkom has a reputation for high quality denim products, a result of extensive experience with fabric research and development and a sustainable wash development centre, which is up to date with the latest trends and techniques. We make products that are inspired from the nature, paying respect to all aspects of it. And sustainability is the key to our developments as we mostly work with customer-oriented designs. We offer a wide range of products covering all price and age groups.

What is the average turn-around time from fabric sourcing to shipment of the same to your clients?

Our usual lead times are 5-6 weeks, but we also have an express production line to supply to express trend demands, where deliveries reach our customers in 3-4 weeks. We are also able to offer a smooth service by keeping all raw materials in stock.

What latest technologies and innovations are your product specialists currently working on?

  • We innovate with transformational chemistry and technology that promotes more aesthetics and ethics.
  • A filtration and water treatment plant cleans the water used in the manufacturing process, recycles it for other industrial uses. 
  • New finishing technologies minimise water consumption
  • Automation systems installed in the laundry save millions of kwh of energy annually and reduce tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
  • Heat and steam generated during the production cycle are captured and re-used, minimising energy consumption, resulting in thousands of kwh of energy savings annually while reducing tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Which are the sourcing fairs you are going to participate next?

Since five years we have not participated in any sourcing fair but we prefer to visit them and see the market reaction in terms of developments and innovations in future. Our marketing strategy is more on having exclusive meetings and develop unique collections for our customers and we prefer to visit them in their offices.
Published on: 13/02/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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