BRIEF HISTORY OF THE KOSOVO APPAREL INDUSTRY
The Kosovo apparel industry has a tradition of over 200 years. Most recently, as part of Former Yugoslavia, textile was the second largest industrial sector in Kosovo. At the industry’s peak in the 1990s, each of the 15 textile socially-owned enterprises employed more than 1,000 people. Total sales amount to about €35milllion (calculated in the then currency). Kosovo textiles were sold in the local market, in Yugoslavia, and exported to Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the United Stated of America. The leather industry has roots in tradition of leather tanners and saddle makers in the city of Pejë/Peć and leather shoe socially-owned factories.
After the fall of Yugoslavia, very few of the socially-owned enterprises were privatized; leaving thousands of employees without jobs and the technology obsolete. The industry today has risen through the right blend of tradition, creativity and experience. A lot of the new private companies emerged out of families with a tradition on skins, hides, footwear, knitting, weaving and sewing; high-end young women fashion designers, traders and foreign investments.
Official data show that as of 2016, 182 private companies are active in the market of apparel and leather, employing around 1500 employees. Ninety percent of them are final product manufacturers, mostly of garments.