Orta Anadolu attributes its success to a rather simple concept: the mill works closely with brands to serve their needs.
Orta was founded in 1953 as a spinning and weaving company, and, in the early 80s, the company switched entirely to denim. Now the mill produces 60 million meters of denim per year and creates 700 different fabrics for brands that range from fast fashion to designer labels.
In addition to Orta’s primary mill located in Turkey, which focuses on fast track service with small, speedy runs, Orta owns a factory in Bahrain. This factory does not have the same capability, but guarantees the same quality and service and offers some fabrics to complete a collection with a lower price margin.
Though many international mills have struggled to break into the U.S. market, Orta has developed a large American business. According to Ebru Debbağ, Orta deputy manager of product development, sales and marketing, the mill is able to work with key American brands like Gap because it is flexible and can work at the right speed, at the right price tier.
Orta is developing a new approach to innovation in response to consumers who have a new commuting, outdoor lifestyle.
Debbağ said, “The top-tier consumers still want all these nice-looking vintage elements, but they want it to come with the comfort tweak.” She explained that this combination of qualities was not easy to achieve.
Orta’s Reverb collection was designed with this combination of authentic denim and modern features in mind. Orta calls it “the collector’s item for the 22nd century.” The fabrics are cotton stretch denim with a cloudy salt-and-pepper look to mimic the vintage aesthetic.
“The industry requires constant innovation, which then requires constant investment.”
Reverb exemplifies Orta’s new attempt to redefine denim and, for Fall ’17, the mill is focusing on the ease of the body’s movement. Debbağ said that the question for Orta going forward is, “How can we in our jeans interact with the world?” She continued, “We need denim to move with us as we move with the times. We all have these amplified journeys as consumers.”
Part of this enhanced understanding may involve denim textiles becoming a more inherent part of the design process. Debbağ pointed out that if a mill works with the brand’s design team, it speeds up the development process. Orta has been investing energy into styling with mini collections, which is how the mill will begin to take its collections to brands.
Debbağ said the mill may even begin to take the idea of designing to the next level, creating fabric bases with the idea of styling them for finished garments. This marks a notable departure from the brand’s beginnings when it only carried four fabrics. Debbağ said, “Now we really have to work as this gigantic brand that caters to so many different brands at different levels.”
In addition to reenvisioning its role in the denim supply chain, Orta will also reimagine how it exhibits fabrics with a new series of events for Fall ’17. Rather than presenting in the mill’s showroom, they will hire a space for a pop-up presentation in Istanbul with round table discussions, photo galleries and a collaboration with a vintage showroom from London.
Debbağ said that Orta sees this as a great time for the denim industry when there will be a significant change. “The industry requires constant innovation, which then requires constant investment,” she said. “We are geared up for being together with our partners in this denim world.”