Stitching better exports
Handmade embroidery and quality stitching is what makes Kyrgyz textiles go global.
‘When we started working our main markets were Russia and Kazakhstan. Now we export to more than 10 countries, including Germany and the United State,’ says Larisa Popkova, the owner of Larisa Fashion, a sewing company in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Flowery fashion dresses she produces sparkle in the daylight.
However, it is not all flowers and sparkles for the Kyrgyz garment industry. Accounting for almost 30% of gross domestic product and more than 200,000 jobs, the industry faces many challenges and tough international competition is one of them.
Kyrgyz textile companies, usually small in size, find it difficult to compete against textile giants in China, India and Turkey. Together with Kyrgyz trade and investment support institutions, the International Trade Centre (ITC) helps textile companies improve the quality of their production. By investing in staff education and better machinery, small companies in Bishkek are now able to receive orders for more complicated designs and even start working with well-known fashion houses.
‘We are a small family company,’ says Iman Kurazarlik of Aziar. ‘Through trainings and participation in international fairs, with the help of ITC, we found new customers. We are growing fast, employing more people.’