11.2.4 Case study

The textile and Clothing Cluster in Catalonia (Spain)1

The Catalan textile industry powered by the steam revolution started developing in the region in 1830. The textile sector, once the foundation of the local economy, has given way to more modern industries but is still significant. It accounts for 7% of Catalan industrial output (38% of Spain’s total production) it employs approximately 94.400 people (2,8% of total employment) in the region.

The cluster encompasses a wide range of industrial activities that include: suppliers of chemical products, manufacturers of textile machinery, narrow fabrics, fiber suppliers, spinners and weavers, dyers and finishers, other suppliers and clothing manufacturers. All of which are classified based on the raw materials and technology used: cotton, knitted-fabrics sector, dyes and finishes, wool, silk, etc.

In the early 90’s, like many other sectors, the textile and clothing industry was greatly affected by the phenomenon of globalisation. The Catalan textile cluster started facing fierce competition from developing countries that had become very competitive in textiles and clothing, as they combined low wages costs with high-quality equipment and know-how imported from more industrialised countries.2 

The cluster is made up of 2.600 companies, most of which are SMEs and 85% are concentrated in 8 counties, each being specialized in specific processes. These are surrounding by numerous agents that act as clients, suppliers, subcontractors and service providers, such as logistic providers, marketing agencies, specialized printing companies, etc. The cluster includes major companies that integrate production and distribution. In fact, the success of the cluster is strongly related to the integration of distribution with the production system.

The Catalan textile cluster is characterized by various local producers associations and guilds from different counties, each of them are responsible for supporting and promoting their local industry, serve as a lobbying platform, and establish partnerships between companies.

Each action line proposed inside the cluster would be financed through a public-private contribution. The proposed cluster actions were:

  • Integrating production with distribution through the creation of chain stores
  • The creation of a Centre for Textile Innovation to offer permanent support on technologies innovation to the textile companies
  • Reinforcement of the informal collaboration with the traditional national, regional and local associations
  • Promote needs-based innovation projects linking providers and innovative clients
  • Encouraging innovation and product design through human resources training
  • Setting a B2B online marketplace
  • Implementing the ISO 9001 as a means to certify the quality of the cluster’s products
  • Pointing out to different funding instruments available for acquiring technological equipment and facilitating the process for obtaining it.


1 Information adapted from 
2 For further information you can go to www.cetemsa.es and www.cidem.com