This Kada study was financed by the European Commission and the European Parliament, with Toscana Promozione, Prato’s Chamber of Commerce, Otir2020 and Ade International. We had an Italian economic development specialist, Marika Puglisi on the team and international development advisor Mark Beresford.
The project was all about exploiting innovation and creativity in textile districts across Europe. The study paints a picture of the changing dynamics of the EU textile sector, tracing how it has restructured and reinvented itself. Over the last two decades the sector has been transformed and forms part of almost every industrial sector and many high tech products. We looked at the location, formation and make-up EU textile clusters, noting some key success factors in cluster development.
We honed in on the Italian Textile industry and the position of Prato within the sector. Prato comprises some 7,000 textile companies exporting over €2 billion per annum with iconic fashion brands such as Gucci and Prado.
The brief for this study was clear – to develop profitable interactions between creative EU textile districts. As part of the work we set out a compelling narrative and proposition for the sector which we discussed with key players across Europe. A menu of possible collaborations was then designed striking a balance between some early wins and longer term, more transformational activity. For each the rationale and added value was identified alongside some potential partners, activities and next steps.
The interactions included measures to promote diversification into technical textiles and knowledge transfer in the finishing processes. There are also measures to boost creativity and design and build on Prato’s expertise in the circular economy. Bi-lateral missions were proposed for the CREATE team to share innovation and technology developments and deepen two-way trade.
The CREATE team are planning to visit the UK next month with a delegation of Italian companies in direct response to our study recommendations.
“Iconic household fashion names like Gucci and Prada help drive local textile demand in the Italian district of Prato in Tuscany, which comprises some 7,000 textile companies exporting over €2 billion per annum. Areas of specialization include wool, new fibres, software, fashion garments, and intermediate products for the fashion, furnishing, medical, construction industries with a very strong capacity to offer exceptionally high quality, rapidly produced products.”