Turkish brand DeFacto shined a spotlight on earthquake aid at U.N. Status of Women on Tuesday.
Since the devastating earthquakes tore through southern Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6, thousands of aftershocks have rippled through the region. Turkish fashion designers are among the thousands looking to rebuild.
DeFacto, one of Turkey’s largest ready-to-wear companies, provided 100,000 blankets and 200,000 winter-ready garments in immediate relief to individuals affected by the disaster. The company said it will make early payments to its suppliers through the Collection Financing System (CFS), where microfinance loans are extended to 11 textile supplier provinces. Under the Turkish Ministry of Commerce’s earthquake directive, the retailer directed customer donations to earthquake regions free of charge, partnering with Alongside the Ministry of Family and Social Services (AFAD), where it has also committed a year’s supply of clothing to affected children.
“Raising global awareness of the disproportionate impact of natural disasters on women — and how organizations can better mobilize their available resources — is a key aim of DeFacto’s mission in attending CSW67 at the United Nations,” said Onder Senol, DeFacto’s online general manager, in an interview with WWD. The CSW67 event — now in its 67th run — convenes March 6 to 17 in New York.
Given that 60 percent of the Turkish retailer’s employees are women, the brand felt a responsibility to speak out on injustices, DeFacto said. DeFacto is also a signatory for the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Senol called on brands to “draw connections” between natural disasters and gender equity, while advocating for “more inclusive disaster management policies and practices.” He said this entails ensuring equal access to emergency services, providing gender-sensitive relief and recovery programs and empowering women to participate in decision-making processes related to disaster preparedness and response.
As part of the “DeFacto Life” sustainability program, the brand has committed to reducing its impact across its supply chain, including water savings and material substitutions, such as Better Cotton Initiative-certified cotton and its recent “Apple Leather” accessories collection. The retailer aims to cut water use in its supply chain by 25 percent, source 100 percent renewable energy and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
DeFacto said its presence is growing, after a 1.1 billion-lira investment from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The retailer operates in 93 countries and looks to expand to 180 countries by 2027.