Industrial and garment companies were the engine of the Industrial Revolution, mainly in Europe. Spinning mills, weaving mills and dye works were established. As one of the first industries, the textile industry in particular had to face globalization. Manufacturing was relocated to lower-cost markets abroad, initially to Southern Europe and subsequently to South and East Asia. From the 1970s onward, a process of structural change unfolded which continues to shape the industry to this day. There was an increasing trend toward low-priced goods. Nowadays, 60% more garments are bought than 10 years ago, but there is no more spending. Material is becoming increasingly basic; people are relying more and more on cheap material harmful to the environment.
The modern textile industry in Europe has responded to this and tried to counteract the trend by specializing in higher-quality, more technically advanced and more durable textiles.
Nonetheless, the structural shift is clearly visible here as well; the share of companies in the textile industry has declined steadily since 2000, and there were many insolvencies in the sector, especially during the financial crisis. All in all, the industry continues to decline in terms of the number of employees and sales.
What does the future hold?
Is there a turn towards more sustainable fashion made from residual materials or alternative environmentally friendly production? Often it is young, start-up companies that live sustainability from the very beginning and try to switch to environmentally friendly natural fibers. These young companies in particular, most of which have little capital, need intelligent financing alternatives and sufficient insurance cover for global exports. GfK provides assistance in all segments with its many years of experience in the textile industry.
Our project groups ” Mittelstand und Nachhaltigkeit” (SMEs and sustainability) and “Neue Generation von Unternehmer” (New Generation of Entrepreneurs) are specifically concerned with the promotion and support of the change in strategy in medium-sized companies and start-ups with an ecological, long-term perspective!
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