Places in Prato:
Centres of innovation

Innovation and textile district

Innovation is vital part of Prato textile district

Innovation is in the DNA of Prato's textile district. Prato companies have an age-old wool-processing tradition, and over time they have stratified their technical knowledge, learning to address new and different scenarios in the textile-clothing sector. It is this 'know-how', combined with its entrepreneurial spirit and attitude to change, that have made it possible for this area to keep its vocation alive for over a thousand years.
In recent decades, fashion changes, the rise of new manufacturing centres, technological transformations and international competition have led companies to step up their research and development activities. The objective is that of addressing the market of textiles and fast-moving fashion with low technical-quality content, moving towards aesthetic and technological productions with high value-added.

Highly specialized fashion and new sectors
Manufacturing specialization, a characteristic feature of this district, has intensified: while companies dedicated to clothing concentrate on the use of new fibres, yarns, machining and finishing, others have decided to apply the knowledge acquired in the fashion sector to new areas, such as security and protection, sports and functional clothing, engineering, architecture, and medicine.

These products are the result of specialized know-how that combines technical knowledge of textiles with chemistry and mechanical engineering. Technology transfer to other sectors is helped by the coexistence in the same area of highly specialized companies, like spinning, weaving and wool mills, chemical and mechanical companies (finishing and dyeing plants, testing laboratories, textile machinery).

Research, new fibres, materials and processes
The presence of a new centre of textile research, Next Technology Tecnotessile, as reference point for the development and testing of state-of-the-art technology, makes it possible to keep research projects in the Prato area, using knowledge and experience gained locally.
Some companies have decided to abandon the traditional textile sector in order to dedicate themselves to advanced applications.
Some firms stopped producing sports textiles in order to specialize instead in carbon fibre composite materials for engineering, mainly for the automotive industry and interior design. Similarly, others moved from their experience in felts and wadding used in furniture and footwear to more innovative productions such as environmentally sustainable acoustic and thermal insulation for the green building sector, bases for the creation of vertical gardens and substrates for agriculture. As for other firms, the manufacturing of windproof, breathable, anti-UV sports fabrics has been added to their traditional clothing collections, and has become the company’s driving force.

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