Versace Made in Karabakh?
STEPANAKERT—Italian business leaders met with Artsakh Prime Minister Ara Haurtunian Wednesday in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) to discuss the possibility of launching manufacturing units for such high-fashion companies as Versace, Armani, Prada and Moschino.
With the government of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic planning to develop light industry in the country with a project to resuscitate the soviet-era silk manufacturing factory Gharmetakskombinat, the talks with the Italian business leaders aim to provide the best possible climate for such investment.
The textile production, carpet manufacturing, wool processing and thread production plants are already working. The program will not only contribute to Artsakh’s economic development, but will also create local jobs.
“This is our first cooperation with famous brands. This is the most important project of independent Artsakh in the field of light industry,” said Prime Miniter Harutunian.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Aghabekyan, in line with a preliminary agreement, the Italian company will cover the expenses of import of equipment and export of production.
“We’re here to familiarize ourselves with the conditions. I think we’ll succeed to launch production in the country in cooperation with your authorities. We indent to develop the brands of Versace, Armani, Prada and Moschino in Artsakh. We’ll mostly produce sportswear,” an Italian businessman said.
As it could be expected, this initiative has angered Baku. The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan has launched an investigation and “relevant instructions” have been given to the Azerbaijani Embassy to Italy. Some Azeris are urging a boycott of the Italian brands.
The news portal virtualaz.org asked the Versace representative in Baku Ramin Movsumov for comments, in hopes that the info above will be refuted. The journalists, however, were disappointed by Movsumov’s remarks.
He said, Versace is an Italian company which can choose to open representations in any country of the world.
“I see nothing that would contradict Azerbaijani interests. As far as I know, the company is opening a boutique, rather than a plant in Stepanakert. The company president Luigi Antonini recently told me about their intention to open a representation in Yerevan,” said Movsumov.
In concluded by advising the reporters against mixing fashion with politics, noting that no step was taken to harm Azeri interests.
Versace representation in Azerbaijan is a part of Qarant holding owned by the son of the country’s Transportation Minister Anar Mammadov.