In the Zollernalb district and select areas around Reutlingen and Tübingen, tradition goes hand-in-hand with the future of the textile industry. Here, Swabia’s signature inventive spirit meets with scientific expertise. In addition to world-famous fashion labels, the Neckar-Alb region is also home to a growing number of technical textile specialists.
Perhaps the most well-known flagship of the Neckar-Alb textile region is OUTLETCITY METZINGEN. This shopping paradise attracts customers from all over the world and is located in the same city as the Hugo Boss headquarters, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of men’s fashion. But the region’s influence on the fashion industry doesn’t stop there; other regional fashion labels enjoy international success and include names like Marc Cain, Mattes & Amann, Mey, Nina von C. or Sanetta, as well as sports’ brands like Erima, Trigema or Uhlsport.
Many other textile companies have established themselves in the Neckar-Alb region in addition to these strong brands, including more than 60 highly innovative companies in the field of technical textiles with products ranging from protective and functional athletic textiles to textiles for the medical and automotive industries. The region’s textile companies manufacture internationally sought-after materials and products, such as artificial veins and materials for the Airbus A380. It’s not without reason that Germany is currently world leader in the export of technical textiles, followed by the United States and China.
The Neckar-Alb region has firmly established itself as a center for technical textiles, and its close proximity to relevant user industries was and continues to be very helpful in maintaining this position. Medical Valley Hechingen is situated at the heart of the region, bordered by Stuttgart and its strong automobile industry and the medical technology stronghold of Tuttlingen. A strong infrastructure with textile machinery manufacturers and textile suppliers provides the ideal framework for innovation, while research institutions and textile degrees offered by universities in Reutlingen and Albstadt-Sigmaringen build the scientific backbone of the industry.
Albstadt's Lautlingen district boasts a unique innovation that remains the only one of its kind to this date: A textile-reinforced concrete bridge. This construction underscores the potential of technical textiles, as a textile-reinforced concrete bridge is significantly lighter and more durable than conventional steel-reinforced concrete bridges. But the construction industry won’t be the only one to benefit from technical textiles in the future; medical and environmental technologies, the automobile industry, and mechanical engineering will also benefit, which in turn can only mean good things for companies in the Neckar-Alb region. The Neckar-Alb’s technical textiles cluster also contributes to this development by taking measures in the areas of internationalization and technology transfer, offering support to regional companies through the implementation of innovative ideas. Some of the cluster’s central themes include smart materials, 3-D textiles, protective clothing as well as pharmaceutical linens and are likely to expand to include construction textiles, hygiene or even interior design.