By  on May 23, 2007

ISTANBUL — After a period riven by rivalry, Turkey's fashion trade fair calendar has finally settled into a twice-yearly rhythm of one main show at the CNR Expo exhibition space in Istanbul. But upheaval and controversy are never far from the surface.

The fuss this season arose over the March arrest of CNR head Ceyda Erem on allegations of financial irregularities. Erem has been released and the case, which has unsettled exhibitors, has gone to court. CNR organizers said they do not want to issue a statement until the legal process is over.

While protesting Ms. Erem's innocence in general, CNR also offered reassurances that neither August's Istanbul International Fashion Fair nor its successors for years to come would be affected.

"We have a very long-term rental agreement with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce for the exhibition halls, and we are continuing to host exhibitions as usual," said international marketing supervisor Gul Orundas.

The Aug. 23 to 25 show is only the second since the IF council of fashion trade bodies decided to end a damaging trade fair rivalry by publicly abandoning the established TUYAP trade fair venue and taking the show to CNR. CNR had launched its own alternative fair, backed by the powerful Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters' Association, or ITKIB, as a challenge to TUYAP, which ITKIB had criticized for "lacking vision." The split angered exhibitors, who blamed it on personality clashes and infighting rather than any grand plans on either side.

The first edition of the relocated IIFF drew 27,452 visitors to the halls showcasing 288 exhibitors from all categories, including women's and men's wear, denim, lingerie, swimwear, children's wear, accessories and knitwear. The Istanbul Moda Show, which CNR ran prior to bagging the IIFF contract, was glitzier but lacked the category range to make it a comprehensive Istanbul fashion show.

The second IIFF at CNR, the 10th edition of the fair organized by the IF council, will boast the official support of the "Turquality" campaign — a mark of recognition and campaign of incentives granted by the Turkish state to brands deemed to add value to the Made in Turkey name. Exhibition organizers hope this will lead to greater participation in the show by established Turkish brands, compared with last time, when they were few and far between.

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