12 March 2020
Prof. Dr. Ziynet Öndoğan, Director of Ege University’s (EU) School of Fashion and Design, met with us to discuss sustainability and the high multiplier effect in the projects endorsed by our Agency. She offered the following insight about the projects that have been carried out to date: “The İzmir Development Agency had reached out to us about a possible project back in 2008, the year I was appointed as the principal of Emel Akın Vocational School of Higher Education. As a project-intensive team, we considered their call and after careful deliberation, we proposed the project titled 'The İzmir Wedding Dress and Evening Gown Sector Aesthetically and Technically Improves the Quality of Production'. It was Ege University's first ever project to be backed by İZKA. One of the main reasons behind its success was because we studied the most immediate needs of İzmir's ready-made clothing sector, which constituted the basis of our project’s goal. The extensive study we had conducted revealed the fact that the bridal and evening gown manufacturers throughout İzmir province provide 75% of Turkey's total bridal and evening gown production. In response, we reached out to various NGOs for support and went ahead with our project accordingly.”
Prof. Dr. Öndoğan added, “The project has trained local women, unemployed textile graduates, and those with disabilities in a number of related professions and encouraged them to acquire new vocational skills, thus helping the trainees take active part in the sector. Throughout the process, we've collaborated--and will continue to collaborate— in particular with embroiderers, instructors, and renowned fashion experts on the craft of sewing.
We have also collaborated with the Aegean Ready-Made Garments Exporters Union as well as the Aegean Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Union on the project titled 'Young Fashion Designers Turning İzmir into the Capital of Fashion” endorsed by the İzmir Development Agency as part of the Financial Support Program to Improve Social Cohesion. We run this project out of the EU School of Fashion and Design with the aim of taking on new trainees for the preparation of commercial collections.”
“A number of graduates from this program have even opened their own fashion houses.”
Prof. Dr. Öndoğan noted that İZKA has been with them in every step of the way, adding, “Our many thanks go out to İZKA for supporting us not only financially but also emotionally, for they've been with us at every stage of the project right from the onset. Some of the graduates of our previous project have opened their own fashion houses---one of whom is Dilek Yaldız. Our new project includes students between the ages of 18 and 25. So at this point, we got in touch with Dilek and asked her to continue her journey that began as a trainee, but this time as an instructor. Having graduated from our previous İZKA-backed project as a former trainee and currently an entrepreneur with her own fashion house, she kindly accepted our invitation. We can’t help but share her success story with you to serve as a major source of inspiration for those who wish to work in this sector as entrepreneurs."
Having participated in the project titled ‘İzmir Wedding Dress and Evening Gown Sector Aesthetically and Technically Improves the Quality of Production' as a trainee and later opening her own fashion house, Yaldız said, "I took part in this project in 2010. I spent roughly five months learning how to sew. All of us enjoyed ourselves thoroughly during the trainings. I then set up my own fashion house in 2016. I currently run one in Alsancak that has been in business for about a year. Without my teacher Ziynet Öndoğan, Zeynep Acar, or İZKA, I wouldn't have made it this far. I hope that my new fellow students also follow down the same path. My advice to them would be to believe in themselves in order to achieve their dreams, and to work hard to that end!"