Islamic State radical militants have been able to get their hands on some of the cotton production in Syria, which is worrying some of the manufacturers that clothes linked to IS could end up in stores or closets worldwide.
After seizing grain and oil fields to fund their brutal run through Syria, IS jihadists took control of over 75% of the cotton production in the country, which was an important export prior to the war, said an expert in financing of extremist groups.
Syrian cotton is a big issue at fashion houses located in Paris. One buyer for many haute couture collections at a top label said that they are very vigilant over the fabrics origin.
One regular supplier had sent bolts of cloth that did not have a tag of origin on them and the company asked that they not be touched until the required certificates came with them, the buyer said.
She added can you even imagine having cotton supplied by the Daesh, which is the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Companies are very aware what a public relations disaster can do to business after the factory located in Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1,138 people.
Labels that sub-contracted work were accused of not pushing for safe conditions for the workers.
The biggest concern with the conflict in Syria related to cotton is it could reach international markets through wholesalers in Turkey buying it at prices that are cut rate from fighters of Islamic State who are desperate to have cash.
Parts of Syria controlled by IS are near Turkey, the EU’s second largest supplier of fabric and its third in clothing.
Turkey an importer of cotton to be used for clothing manufacturing, includes amongst its largest suppliers the U.S., Greece, Egypt, Uzbekistan and usually Syria, said a local industry analyst.
Syrian exports of cotton to Turkey rose during the 1990s and into the early part of the 2000s, but have dropped since 2008.
According to insiders in the industry, Islamic State has until only recently been sending raw cotton to Turkey.