Turkish fashion industry begins to flourish, opens up to transgender community

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For decades, Turkey has been able to establish itself in the fashion industry and has become a major global force. For many years, Western fashion designers such have focused on the east to inspire and design their clothes in an attempt to achieve a challenging balance in their products by offering high quality at affordable prices.

Turkey, which has a population of nearly 80 million, is a major focus for these brands as well.
But one major twist in the Turkish fashion market is that transsexuals are beginning to catch the spotlight in fashion shows and place themselves as tough competition for their female colleagues.


Sudesu Demirel, who has recently participated with some of her peers in a public fashion show, says she has achieved a dream of hers that she had for years.

She added that it is impressive how people’s reactions have recently echoed more tolerance with gender transformation. Her career, which she began three years ago, as a professional fashion model has become very fruitful for her only recently.

“Before I was a model, I used to work as a DJ or a nightclub manager, but I united with my colleagues. We used to participate as fashion amateurs before we decided to organize our entire professional shows,” Demirel said.

“In the coming period, we aim to export our own brands, so that everyone is aware that we have entered the field of fashion design, and we are no longer restricted to our cricles in Turkey,” she added.

Demirel expressed her future dream of becoming a designer and model for women’s fashion, evening wear and casual wear.

Today, Turkey’s exports of ready-made clothing amount to around 17 billion euros which is the equivalent of 20 percent of Turkey’s annual export earnings.

Demirel and her colleagues hope to be accepted by the associations like Turkish Fashion Designers Association, to further their careers in the industry, and also to be given the opportunity to participate in the prominent events such as Istanbul Fashion Week, instead of organizing parallel shows.

The association was founded a decade ago with about 200 members and is very much similar to the Council of Fashion Designers in the US.

“The number of international stores outside Turkey, which will showcase Turkish designs, will reach 4,000 by the end of 2018. Hence, we believe that this provides us, as transsexuals, with an opportunity to get jobs and compensation for shortcomings in other fields,” Demirel said.

She added that Istanbul has become a competitor to Milan, Paris, London and New York, and that the fashion world in Turkey has demonstrated that it is possible to have a lucrative trade at the local and international levels.

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