Catalonia, ever since the industrial revolution, has always had an important textile sector. This background has left its mark on today’s industry thanks to a wealth of accumulated expertise and technical knowhow. Mango, Desigual, Munich, Nice Things and Custo are just a few of many renowned brands from Catalonia.
Today, with 793 companies working within the sector in Catalonia, we can identify two main groups. Firstly, the textile and fashion brands and corresponding retail system that account for 57% of companies, and, in second place, the productive supplier system that represents the 43% of the remaining companies. Combined, both sectors employ 64,519 workers and generate €14,507M as total industry turnover.
An unbeatable distribution capacity
Main international players such as Decathlon, Kiabi, Uniqlo, H&M, Ermenegildo Zegna, Pepe Jeans, Lacoste, Nike or Chanel have set up business in Catalonia. One noteworthy reason for the industry’s success is not only due to Catalonia’s excellent logistics capacity, but also due to its privileged Southern European location, allowing for efficient intercontinental connections to Asia and the Americas and easy, fast distribution to Southern Europe and North Africa.
Innovation is key in the textile and fashion industry
It’s not all logistics, however. Talent plays a major role, too. Catalonia has a top-notch university system with as many as six higher-education institutions having dedicated fashion and textile faculties, complemented by some 50 design schools. Some of the main institutions are BAU – Design College of Barcelona, ESDi Higher School of Design, Massana School, Eina- University School of Design and Art or ELISAVA- Barcelona School of Design and Engineering.
Furthermore, major design events are held yearly in Barcelona, such as Valmont Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, 080 Barcelona Fashion, BSTIM Manufacturing Fair or Re-Barcelona Sustainable Fashion Summit.
This creative groundswell also means that innovation is firmly a part of the textile and fashion sector. Many foreign companies, such as Asics with its Barcelona Innovation Hub, have chosen Catalonia and Barcelona to promote their innovation strategies due to the potential of the local design, fashion and entrepreneurship ecosystem, with more than 70 fashion and design startups currently active in Catalonia. Technology centers that have specialised in textile are Eurecat, Leitat, Fitex or Intertex.
Leather Cluster Barcelona
The quality of leather tanned in Catalonia is recognized worldwide and today, more than 80% of the production is exported. Major fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Prada have trusted for years Catalan leather providers and manufacture part of their bags and other accessories in Catalonia.