The Albanian garment industry is relatively unknown to Dutch buyers and brands. However, Albania has a great potential to offer specialized garment products in small quantities with a rapid reach to the EU market. The industry’s experience dates back to the Communist era, when state-owned enterprises facilitated fully integrated garment production. However, since the fall of the regime in the early 90’s, the face of the industry has changed significantly. Foreign investors were attracted to Albania’s experienced and cheap garment production industry. By the late 90’s, Albania’s garment industry consisted mostly of SME’s (Small & Medium Enterprises) performing small parts of the production process (CMT: cut-make-trim), mainly for Italian luxury brands. Albanian companies could be considered ‘assembly stations’ performing limited value-adding activities, resulting in small profit margins and anonymity. Made in Italy luxury fashion might as well be Made in Albania – which doesn’t make it any less luxurious, does it?

The former employer of Veerle Luiting, MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands), a leading sustainable business network in the Netherlands counting over 2500 affiliated companies, organised a trade & development to Albania’s garment industry. Veerle was invited to design and organise the capacity building part of the program. Rob Heinsbroek (Ethics Group) organised the match making program with the support of local consultant Gojart Smaja. On behalf of MVO Nederland, Michiel van Yperen, lead of the Textile program, was in charge of the overall mission program.

The capacity building program consisted of a workshop day for graduate students of the Academy of Arts of Albania and the Polytechnic University of Tirana. 5 Working groups of students with mixed backgrounds worked on circular business modelling and envisioned the development of the sector they will enter after graduation. One student established her social business, inspired after the workshop, in the summer of 2017.

ClientCSR Netherlands, the Royal Dutch Embassy in TiranaServicesCapacity building, workshop

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