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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

This page refers specifically to products of the TCLF (Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear) industries that primarily meet technical/functionality criteria, rather than aesthetic criteria.

There is also a dedicated page for the product subsector Footwear.

Technical TCLF products include a wide array of goods that can be both non-leisure apparel, clothing accessories and footwear or any other kind of product, designed and manufactured under functional criteria specific to the activities of the users (be they professionals or not), the intended particular use of the product or the characteristics of the final product, other than a TCLF product, into which it shall be incorporated. Aesthetic criteria, although relevant for certain technical TCLF products, are not the main concern here.

Such technical products, most notably technical textiles, are present across the economic sectors, such as in agriculture (agrotextiles), construction (notably geotextiles but also others, such as insulation and flooring products), the transport, defence and space industries and medical products, and include products meant for both professional and non-professional use, such as filters, cleaning products, hygiene products, protective equipment and certain sports and work wear.

European producers are world leaders in technical and non-woven textiles, as well as in technical leather products (most notably in the automotive industry).

The following aspects are enabling technical textile producers to be increasingly capable of offering solutions that meet the specific technical needs of the final users

  • technically advanced textile fibres (polyester, polypropylene, viscose, cotton, carbon, glass and aramid)
  • the choice of the most relevant manufacturing techniques (spinning, weaving, braiding, knitting, non-woven)
  • finishing processes (dyeing, printing, coating, laminating)

Technical textiles are therefore of great economic importance and growth potential, as the European Economic and Social Committee has pointed out in its Opinion of 17 April 2013.

Smart textiles, i.e. textiles that are able to sense and respond to changes in their environment (including the wearer’s conditions), are an area of particular growth and technical development for technical textiles. This is notably the case of those smart textiles (called “e-textiles”) that contain electronic components.

EU legislation impacting technical TCLF products

This is a non-exhaustive list of EU legislation that, although not addressing the TCLF ecosystem or any of its products exclusively, nevertheless impacts technical TCLF products specifically


Study on technical textiles in Brazil, Japan, South Korea and the USA

A 2017 study set out to improve knowledge in Europe about technical textiles opportunities outside of the EU – with particular emphasis on Brazil, Japan, South Korea and the USA.

The study offers a quantified view on technical textiles supply and demand in regional markets and within 12 product families. It examined the market performance in yarn and fabric-type technical textiles, as well as non-woven technical textiles.

Country reports on technical textiles (September 2017)