In April of 2017 CSR Netherlands and Ethics Group brought 15 Dutch textile companies to Albania. Their objective was to match the companies with Albanian textile factories that produce garments in a sustainable and responsible way.
For certain five participants of the mission showed serious interest for sourcing corporate clothing, women's and children's fashion and streetwear in Albania and there were also plans for setting up a design lab.
Albania offers many advantages to Dutch textile brands and producers: It is close to the EU, there is good quality fabric, the CSR-risks are low and you can produce in small quantities that can be quickly brought onto the market. The top of the Italian Fashion industry is already the country's most important trading partner.
Albanian garment sector
With some extra innovations, the Albanian garment sector would be even more attractive to the Dutch market. For example, most Albanian producers do not yet have the expertise to make ready made garments, including the purchase of fabrics and accessories. Also design and patternmaking must be provided by brands. To move this forward, CSR Netherlands, in collaboration with various consultants, provided a series of seminars and workshops on sustainable business models that are in line with Dutch market demand.
Workshops CSR Netherlands
On behalf of CSR Netherlands, fashion expert Veerle Luiting gave workshops for the textile and art academies in Albania. Four groups of students were challenged to set up a business plan for sustainable Ready Made Garment (RMG). After almost two days of intensive collaboration, the mixed student teams came with new circular business models and social media campaigns for bringing back the value of garments and to add design to the Albanian supply chain.
Plans for design lab
The plans have been presented to the Dutch Embassy and the Albanian Investment & Development Agency (AIDA), which helped create the necessary preconditions for young designers. This has led to plans in which a design lab gets concrete shape. For more information, please contact Veerle Luiting.
The mission with the Dutch entrepreneurs was funded by RVO and carried out with the help of the Dutch Embassy in Tirana. It is the follow-up of previous explorations of CSR Netherlands into the possibilities of the Albanian textile industry for Dutch textile brands.
For companies interested in responsible and collaborative sourcing in Albania, please contact: the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania, Rob Heinsbroek (Netherlands) or Gojart Smaja (Albania).
For more information about textile sourcing and business development in Albania, see the CSR Roadmap and the report of the trade and studytour.