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Being shaped in the hands of women in Southeast Anatolia, Argande as a fashion brand was presented by the Design Coordinator Hatice Gökçe during her speech on sustainable fashion at the Social Good Summit 2016

November, 2016

For the purpose of sharing her knowledge on Argande brand as an example of sustainable fashion initiative, Hatice Gökçe, Design Coordinator of Argande, participated in the Social Good Summit 2016 for the session on “Sustainable Fashion: Is it an oxymoron?”. The session was moderated by Assoc.Prof. Şölen Kipöz, who is well-known with her studies on ethical fashion.

Argande brand was emerged as a result of “Innovations for Women’s Empowerment in Southeast Anatolia Project – Phase II” (IWEP-2) with the aim of contributing to the social and economic empowerment of women. IWEP-2 Project has been implemented since May 2008 under the partneship of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and GAP Regional Development Administration and financial support of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The products of the Project has been gathered under the brand Argande. Argande aims the involvement of women in the labour market as well as the brandization of the Southeast Anatolia, creation of new sales and marketing opportunities.

Presenting Argande in her speech as “the first initiative that sees social good as the primary goal”, Şölen Kipöz pointed out Argande’s leading position in this time, where social sustainability increasingly becomes an inevitable goal for fashion industry as well.

Holding the floor after Kipöz’s speech, Hatice Gökçe stated that although Argande’s primary goal is to increase participation of local women into the labour force, the intention has also been to create a brand image that involves products created by this country’s designers and labour of the women in the region, rather than aiming to agitate consumers’ humane sentiment to drive them to “do charity work”.

Underlining the other aim to be achieved through Argande, Hatice Gökçe said: “Secondary goal has been to include the cultural values of the region as a component of the brand. With this project, we gave life to some of the regional and cultural fabrics, of which the production were limited in one or two ateliers, such as ‘Şelşepik’ and ‘Kutnu’ fabrics, the two indigenous fabrics in Gaziantep and Şırnak. Furthermore, we made our catalog shootings in the region for this purpose: in Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Mardin.”

Highlighting that Argande does not share an ordinary fashion brand’s common objectives such as increasing profit margin by producing and selling more, Hatice Gökçe stated that reaching 1000 women in the region through IWEP Project and Argande brand is much more important for themselves. Stating that the backbone of the Project is volunteers’ efforts, Gökçe remarked that 16 collections in 8 years were prepared with the support of 30 designers, which are amongst the most significant designers of the country.

Furthermore, it was emphasized in her speech that in total 65 models supported Argande collections’ exhibition in Istanbul Fashion Week. It was also expressed that around 300 volunteers, who are experts in their fields, have come together under the Argande brand throughout these years and their uninterrupted support has been continuing for 8 years.