Smart Regional Investments in Textile Innovation

The objective is to strengthen regional textile innovation ecosystems across Europe and enable Textile & Clothing SME’s to invest more in innovation

Smart Regional Investments in Textile Innovation

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.

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.

Since November 2016, RegioTex supports the Thematic Partnership on Textile Innovation.

Thematic working areas

  1. Textile sustainability (resource-efficiency and circular economy), led by Catalonia
  2. Industry4.0 and new digital business models, led by Emilia Romagna
  3. Sector diversification (Technical & smart textiles), led by Norte
  4. Design- and creativity-based innovation (incl. eco-design), led by Lombardy

List of regions involved

Contact details of the leading regions

Contact details of DG REGIO

Past events

  • High Level Group meeting, Autumn 2019, Brussels
  • Support Group meeting, Autumn 2019, Brussels
  • STA Workshops Autumn 2019

Related documents

Monitoring reports containing a management report and a progress report prepared by the lead regions are available here:
Monitoring report Textile July-December 2020
(274 KB - PDF)
Key partnership documents:
Scoping document Textile Innovation partnership
(13.4 MB - PDF)

Latest news


Partnerships of the S3 Thematic Platforms and Clusters
During a webinar co-organised by the European Cluster Alliance, the Thematic S3 Platforms team and several regional representatives discussed on the role of clusters in the S3 interregional partnerships.