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Turkish Factory Brings Denim Knowledge to Egypt

Turkey has long been known for its expertise in denim, and one manufacturer has taken some of that expertise to Egypt.

T&C Garments, which exhibited at Destination Africa in Cairo earlier this month, set up a factory in Egypt six years ago to benefit from opportunities in Africa.

“We came to Egypt for cost, labor, everything,” production manager Husein Ozgur said during a tour of the El-Obour City factory about 22 miles northeast of Cairo. “Plus really the devaluation of the U.S. dollar in Egypt is attracting new customers to come here.”

T&C already counts Levi’s, Uniqlo, Zara, Marks & Spencer and Jones of NY among its main customers. The company produces denim and non-denim bottoms and also has the capability to manufacture Levi’s Waterless denim.

The mission at T&C is to become one of the largest denim suppliers in the global apparel market. For now, T&C, part owned by Turkey-based Taypa Tekstil, has 15 sewing lines in its facility, where there are 2,250 workers and output averages 18,750 garments per day. Most of what the factory makes are basic five-pocket jeans (65 percent) and complex constructions make up the other 35 percent.

Capabilities at the factory are many as T&C has invested in high technology for quality denim.

In the laundry, denim can be rinse washed, enzyme washed, stonewashed, bleached with caustic soda and tinted, to name a few offerings. Finishing techniques include standard scraping and whiskering and range to ozone spray, resin dip, PP stains, tying, tacking and damage. There’s also heat transfer printing and embroidery available, an internal laboratory approved by Bureau Veritas and a development center where its in-house design team can test new designs and techniques to present to buyers.

Though the majority of the company’s workforce is Egyptian, each section has Turkish management.

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The reason: “We’ve had success in Turkey,” Ozgur said. “They found a system like that so they apply the same success here.”

Technology on T&C’s floors is such that each operator has an assigned number, which gets printed into a tag on the garment, so that if a garment passes through the company’s manifold inspections and still has some sort of defect, it can be traced back to a single worker. As Ozgur explained, this accountability not only keeps workers on their toes, but allows the company to detect any inefficiencies in the chain and work to correct them.

Egypt’s double revolutions may have given some companies pause when it came to sourcing there, but Ozgur said T&C has continued to make progress in spite of it.

T&C has plans to start expansion next year, adding 30 additional lines and bringing its monthly output to 400,000 pieces.

“Before the revolution, Egypt was a very strong and stable country and I think it’s going back to that,” Ozgur said.