Textiles and Clothing

Austrian quality textiles are characterised by premium materials and processing. Apart from the highest quality standards, Austrian textile-, clothing-, and leather companies stand out with great competitiveness and outstanding customer focus.

The domestic textile industry belongs to the sectors with the richest tradition in Austria. Especially the small state Vorarlberg and the Lower Austrian forest district with its Waldviertler Textilstraße can draw on a long and successful tradition in the textile sector.

Like no other economic sector, the textile industry is constantly presented with new challenges and has been living through radical changes for decades. The most recent restructuring comes in the form of a merger of the trade associations for textile, clothing, shoes, and leather in 2010. Despite the economic crisis, continuously increasing commodity prices like cotton or leather, plus competition from Far East, the label “Made in Austria” enjoys great popularity across the globe. Austrian quality products convince through premium materials and processing. Besides the highest quality standard, the Austrian textile-, clothing-, and leather companies stand out with high competitiveness and outstanding customer focus.

Flexibility, specialization, and customer focus as core strengths 

The entire sector textiles, clothing, shoes, and leathers comprises of more than 550 companies that generate around EUR 4.5 billion. Primarily made up of small and medium-sized enterprises, the sector employs more than 24,000 people. The textile industry is currently dominated by the following three product segments: 1. Yarns, fabrics, and finishing products; 2. Home and housing textiles, and 3. Technical textiles. Especially the technical textiles segment with its broad array of quality products and almost 50 percent sales share turns out to be a sector that provides a high economic potential.

Not only the economic crisis, but also the increased commodity prices had had a major negative impact on both the European and the domestic textile industry. However the sector has well-recovered since 2010 and is currently experiencing a boom. The textile and clothing industry, as well as the leather goods sector show a steadily rising upward trend. An export share of all four segments (textile, clothing, shoes, leather) of 75 to 90 percent is another proof of the global popularity and demand for Austrian quality products in textile, clothing, and leather goods. The most important trade partner is the European Union with Germany as top customer. Especially in the clothing sector, domestic companies can distinguish themselves with an outstanding customer focus. A whopping foreign trade share of 90 percent is achieved by the leather manufacturing industry in the field of “leather for cars, aircrafts, and furniture”. (Figures and data: Fachverband TBSL; Statistik Austria; Wirtschaftsblatt online 09/2008)

Thanks to flexibility, specialization, and know-how, the domestic textile industry has established itself on the world market and turns out to be a driving force for further promising business sectors. The basis of the success in future is not only made up of the excellent structure given in the training of professionals. Also Austria´s function as a role model in the creation of ecological standards in the production area, as well as their innovativeness when it comes to new trends prove that Austria has found the ideal way to combine tradition and innovation in the textile economy.

Editorial department: Mag. Sandra Hollersbacher