Ban on Turkish imports boosts Armenian vogue

Very last December, a well known location on Yerevan’s central Abovyan Street was household to an outpost of the Turkish quickly-vogue chain Mavi. 

But pursuing a ban on Turkish imports into Armenia, a reaction to Turkey’s comprehensive guidance for Azerbaijan in last year’s war, Mavi is gone, replaced by a homegrown substitute: Key, a new Armenian label offering hipster reinventions of every day fundamentals. The keep is packed with sweatshirts, jeans and T-shirts of all designs and measurements. A choice of extras – handmade by just one of the salespeople – hangs on the wall. 

Ahead of the ban, clothing comprised the solitary greatest group of Turkish imports to Armenia. Community output of textiles had been slowly increasing for years, but has been kickstarted by the embargo.

“The ban aided a ton,” stated Elen Manukyan, the co-founder of the Vogue and Style and design Chamber, a non-financial gain aimed at supporting and selling Armenian designers. As Turkish garments has disappeared from the Armenian market, area producers begun supplying a broader assortment of merchandise alternatively of the standard assortment of underwear and socks. “In addition, the war changed people’s mindset in the direction of Armenian-built goods. Buyers started prioritizing Armenian issues,” Manukyan informed Eurasianet.

The Trend and Structure Chamber supports local designers by supporting them access financial investment, education, and worldwide style shows. The federal government has helped, much too, offering tax cuts to significant textile investors.

Around 100 huge and tiny companies are engaged in the sector. Continue to, the activity is a much cry from Soviet times, when Armenia exported clothes all over the USSR and textiles employed 150,000 folks, a quarter of the workforce, in contrast to all-around 8,000 today. 

The Armenian authorities very first produced a strategy to boost progress of the industry in 2013. The strategy drew interest to unused likely production ability and projected double-digit expansion. Generation has in truth developed noticeably, with output price tripling among 2015 and 2019 (data for 2020 is not nevertheless obtainable). 


But several worries remain. Armenia made use of to source most of the materials from Turkey. And though the embargo does not utilize to uncooked elements this sort of as cotton, specialists predict that the Armenian textile industry’s sourcing map will have to transform. One more serious challenge, Manukyan suggests, are undeveloped enterprise skills and inadequate educational facilities.

“Universities do not have the necessary technical devices and curricula are out-of-date,” she explained. “But tiny by tiny we have educated the domestic customer they have began obtaining Armenian. Designers also have adjusted their angle and now do the job on mass generation to offer economical apparel.” 

That improve is quick to see on Yerevan’s streets: Whereas Armenian-built garments utilised to be restricted to a several haute couture offerings, much more lately mid-dimension makes providing more cost-effective but one of a kind garments have arrive on the marketplace. 

Some of these labels emphasize Armenian lifestyle – shirts adorned with letters of the Armenian alphabet, Christian symbols, ornaments from classical Armenian artwork – to bring in buyers from the substantial global diaspora. 

Other new designers try out to enchantment to community youth by reinterpreting symbols from well known tradition. One, Mild Impact, has crafted an identity close to the impression of “qyarts” – members of a subculture of effective, semi-felony street thugs from the 1990s and early 2000s, which have been remodeled from objects of anxiety to that of ironic mockery.

(Light-weight Affect)

A different brand name with a comparable aesthetic, Primary, functions stylized illustrations of Armenia’s landscapes. Some of Prime’s T-shirts characteristic famous mountains and mountaineering boots. The corporation also has a line of shirts with Soviet automobiles – retro products considerably more mature than the brand’s concentrate on audience.


Designer manufacturers with greater price tags have a more challenging time acquiring a foothold in the Armenian market, where most individuals have small to commit. Vahan Khachatryan, an Italian-experienced co-founder of the Manner and Design and style Chamber, sells haute couture clothing worn by celebrities. Some others – like LOOM Weaving, which focuses on knitted goods or ZGEST, regarded for its dresses – provide mid-variety prices, nevertheless the price tag of a single merchandise can be comparable with Armenia’s regular bare minimum wage.  

Some small designers perform alongside one another, environment up retailers below the slogan “Made in Armenia.” 1 these types of shop, 5thought on Yerevan’s central Sayat Nova Avenue, delivers clothes by dozens of Armenian labels, most of which are far too compact to find the money for their personal boutiques. 

Manukyan of the Fashion and Structure Chamber is optimistic that Armenian-designed clothing will before long be a considerable drive in the community market.

“Six or seven yrs in the past there had been only people who worked with custom made orders. And factories would just consider orders from Russia, sew and ship,” she said. “Now we have significant brand names, and new names emerge each day. The [design] discipline is very active, and it goes hand in hand with textiles mainly because the quantity of factories is expanding, too.”