(Exhibition text in English)

The textile industry consists of companies involved in textile and clothing manufacture. It ranges from wool, cotton, and tricot production to ready-made clothing and sewing companies. In the middle of the 19th century, the production of textiles in Sweden was industrialized at a rapid pace. Whole communities emerged around the new factories. Large companies covered the whole manufacturing process from raw material to finished product. The textile industry employed a sizeable portion of the population, mainly women. It was a highly skilled workforce, as many brought their knowledge of weaving and sewing from home.

After the Second World War, consumption levels increased and the textile industry went into high gear. Higher salary levels, cheaper imported goods and shifting trade meant that production gradually moved to low-income countries. In 1968, TEKO (a Swedish association for companies in the textile and fashion industry) launched an investigation into the consequences of low-cost imported goods on the Swedish textile industry. The steady decline in domestic production has led to a skills shortage in the sector. Nevertheless, a growing number of companies now choose to manufacture textiles in Sweden once again.

Find out more about the Swedish textile and fashion industry the exhibition’s slide show.