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Tunisia, Greece, Portugal give tough competition to Asia as sourcing hub

European brands don’t always source from Asia. Many go to countries like Tunisia, Greece and Portugal. These countries have provided an ecosystem that’s supporting European brands’ speed to market needs. Tunisia is prominent. The country is known for its trousers followed by intimates, swimwear and sportswear, and technical textiles.

There are 1,700 factories making textiles and apparel in Tunisia, and annual turnover in 2016 was $2.75 billion. Zara, H&M, Boss and United Colors of Benetton are some of the brands that have already picked up on that potential of sourcing in Tunisia.

In Greece, manufacturers like DMiss cater to clients like Asos, VF and Guess with fast fashion. Eighty per cent to 90 per cent of the fabrics DMiss uses in its products are made in Greece, which also keeps the supply chain short. The country is known for its jacquards and cotton quality.

More than good quality for the price, brands benefit from a much shorter supply chain, which means fewer leftovers and greater flexibility. Meanwhile Portugal is also gaining attention. It has the know-how for apparel sourcing. Somani Sociedade Textil in Portugal produces in three main categories: toweling products, nightwear and loungewear, and baby wear and nursery products. Scandinavia is one of the company’s biggest markets, followed by Germany and France.