Interview with Yiğit Durak, Durak Tekstil: De...
Interview with Yiğit Durak, Durak Tekstil

Development and transformation

Yigit Durak (Source: Durak Tekstil)
Yigit Durak (Source: Durak Tekstil)

Durak Tekstil was founded in 1971 by Ali Durak as a weaving company. Today, Durak Tekstil, now managed by Yiğit Durak in the 3rd generation, is a producer of industrial sewing and embroidery threads which offers custom made solutions by using creative and researched technologies.

Last year Durak Tekstil celebrated its 50th anniversary. Can you tell us something about the founding of Durak Tekstil in 1971 and what your company stands for today, 50 years later under your management?
Durak Tekstil, which started its sectoral activities in 1971 by Ali Durak and was officially established a year later, celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022. The development and transformation we experience as a company also represent the development and potential of the Turkish textile industry. Our company started its activities as a weaving workshop and has continuously increased its production power and capacity by switching to the production of industrial sewing and embroidery threads, which was our specialty towards the end of the 1970s. Therefore, as a brand, Durak Tekstil has integrated its corporate vision of uninterrupted development, R&D and developing innovative and technical products with its sustainability principle and artistic approach. Today, we have become a thread manufacturer that appeals to many different sectors and segments aside from the textile and clothing industry with its value-added products and we positioned ourselves as beyond a company that only produces standard sewing and embroidery threads. We are one of the top 5 players in the global market in our field and our strength in this competition is increasing day by day with more creative works. Durak Tekstil, exporting to 80 countries, can reach almost all of the global market, especially the European market.

What roles do the topics of sustainability and recycling play in your production?
Sustainability has become one of the most important topics in every aspect of daily life beyond industrial production. Scientists state that several limits have been exceeded for the limited resources and life capacity of our planet, and the point of no return is approaching. Although it is always said that the textile industry is one of the most polluting sectors in the world, positive results have started to be obtained with technological advancements in recent years. Textiles have a serious environmental impact due to the intense use of energy, water, dyes and chemicals, especially in the dyeing phase. As an industrial thread manufacturer, we have made very serious investments in these matters and have achieved significant gains for eco-friendly production. As Durak Tekstil, we develop both our production processes and products within the framework of the sustainability principle. We have GRS and GOTS documents showing that we meet important criteria for sustainability on a product basis. In addition to our polyester and recycled polyester products, we also bring our organic products developed within the framework of GOTS to the market. But of course, the main effect of sustainability stands out in the production process. We have managed to reduce the amount of water, chemicals, dyes and energy we use in thread production over the years. While we used 90 l of water to dye 1 kg of polyester thread in the past, we have now reduced it to 40 l today. This means protecting more clean water sources. Following the development and efficient results of waterless dyeing technologies, we are planning to make our investments in this direction immediately. In addition, thanks to the treatment investments we made in 2012, we discharge the water we use in production into the sewer system as purified and with improved pH balance, not as settling sludge. We are closer than ever to our corporate goal of zeroing our carbon footprint in production.

How do you see your company positioned compared to competitors in Europe and worldwide? Is there a greenwashing problem in the textile and fashion industry?
Durak Tekstil defines competition differently with its 50 years of experience, flexibility and innovative vision. The price-oriented demands of the market are certainly effective in sales and marketing processes, but it is equally important to offer innovative and reliable products that create added value. Durak Tekstil positions itself exactly here. Therefore, while we are among the biggest in the sewing thread industry, we build on our potential and the development direction of the market, not our current strength. We strategically plan our short, medium and long-term sales and marketing processes to reach more customers and regions in the global market, and in parallel, our corporate R&D department continues to work uninterruptedly. We are not only increasing our products in quantity but also expanding them in variety and quality. Every year, products based on sustainability and recycling and technical use are added to our product range. Although we, as a thread manufacturer, are mainly intermediate producers, the changes in the retail market and customer demands also directly affect us. Therefore, as Durak Tekstil, we are expanding our product range in line with consumer demands for sustainable and green products. We are preparing very meticulously on this issue, and I can say that this prepares us for the market conditions of tomorrow.
Unfortunately, greenwashing, as a perception problem in the textile industry regarding the environment and sustainability, has become one of the main issues in recent years because companies are trying to manage this process with perceptions instead of making the necessary environmental investments. The solution is transparency. As Durak Tekstil, we provide end-to-end transparency to our customers and suppliers.

At Techtextil/Texprocess in Frankfurt/Germany in June, technical sewing threads and products for smart textiles were also presented at your stand. Where are these products used? Can you tell us something about the functions and areas of application?
Techtextil and Texprocess were very successful fairs especially for exhibiting our technical threads. As Durak Tekstil, technical threads are a field open to development and full of opportunities for us. Thus, we developed our motto ‘Experience Technology with Durak’. Our R&D department, consisting of a team of 40 engineers, develops threads for technical uses that contain numerous different properties. These include products such as conductive threads, cut-resistant threads, flame retardant threads. These threads are used in various different areas from protective clothing to textiles in the hospitality industry, from automotive to home textiles and easily meet the high safety standards desired. Our threads gain these superior properties with the special processes we carry out in both the spinning and subsequent finishing and dyeing stages. Our threads that improve human balance, which we will be launching soon, will offer many possibilities, especially for elderly and patient care and sports purposes. This thread, developed by our R&D center, was tested by our visitors at Texprocess 2022 and we received very surprising and positive reactions. We believe that this innovative product will take its place among the most ambitious solutions in the market when the testing and finishing processes are completed by 2023.

What is your guiding theme, your vision? Can you be helpful with your products?
Ali Durak founded our company in 1972 with his business mind and set out with a product that was demanded in the market but not produced. But the real founder of our brand was Ömer Durak, who received an engineering education and paved the way for production in a different segment as well as technical development. We started industrial sewing and embroidery threads with Ömer Durak and this gave us a vision. He showed us the importance of constantly developing new products with his view of ‘producing what no one produces’, and we have taken over this as a corporate mission. We devote a significant part of our annual turnover to R&D studies, and this place serves as a cradle where the products of the future are shaped. We have a project pool in our R&D studies, and engineers, managers and marketing teams evaluate together what can be done by evaluating even the most abnormal ideas. In short, solid brainstorming takes place in the emergence of a thread. Our R&D team of 50 people, by taking their technical studies forward, constantly update their knowledge in terms of the features and usage areas of the products on the selected projects. Every project we complete leads us to the next project and challenge. The position of the small spark that was born in a small workshop in Bursa 50 years ago has reached today gives us all pride and confidence.

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