Today, the textile and clothing industry counts 185,000 companies, mostly SMEs, employing 1.7 million people (6% of EU employment) generating a turnover of EUR 166 billion (3% of EU value added) widely spread across the EU.However, a substantial portion of (mostly lower added value) textiles and clothing consumed in the EU is produced elsewhere in the world, often in Asia, taking advantage of very low labour costs. Disadvantages of this model include long-distance supply chains, poor working conditions in "sweat-shops", and high environmental costs.
The EU textile and clothing industry can reinforce its strategic position as a key sector of the European industrial landscape by responding actively to key social, economic, environmental, technology and policy trends.
The map shows a relative concentration of employment in textile and clothing sector in European regions.
The regions shown in blue (with location quotient above 1,3) can be considered as having an economic specialization in textile and clothing sector and especially high concentrations are above 2,0. The regions shown in yellow have the employment in textile and clothing sector similar to the European average, and the regions in grey show lower than standard concentrations, but can still produce high value added. Yellow colour means the concentration similar to the European average. The regions interested and active in the partnership are shown in orange and red outlined, respectively.
Click to enalrge - Source: Euratex (Eurostat data)
Industrial modernisation of the textile and clothing production based in the EU would offer opportunities to address these issues. Advanced manufacturing technologies offer the possibility to develop production systems which are cleaner, less labour and resource intensive and more circular (where the production and consumption system is designed to cycle resources, reducing waste and dependence upon raw materials).
EU based production would also offset the risks and costs associated with long-distance supply chains and offers the opportunity of short delivery times, thereby providing enhanced possibilities for on-demand and customised production. The integration of ICT and big data analysis in business processes also make it possible to enhance consumer involvement, co-design, personalisation and servicisation of textile products.
Therefore the mission of the RegioTex initiative is to bring together stakeholders from the textile, clothing and related industries, their research, technology and education providers as well as public authorities and agencies in a joint effort to develop and implement strategies that will facilitate and accelerate the emerging industrial renewal in traditional manufacturing regions across Europe. The goal is to strengthen the regional innovation capacities, to facilitate investment in open innovation infrastructures or new technologies by SME’s and to establish effective European collaboration between regional actors.
Looking at the share of the partner and observer regions in the general employment in the textile and clothing sector, they constitute 28% of employment in the textile industry and 23% in clothing (see the graph below), which makes the partnership an important player in the modernisation of the sector in Europe.
Contact details of the Leading Regions
Rafael Escamilla, Valencia region, Head of European Programme, Email: email@example.com
Felipe Carrasco, Valencia region, Head of Innovation Department in Regional Textile Association, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org