Smart textiles for a circular future

Sustainability, biobased and circularity are increasingly important themes in the fashion, technical textile, work clothing and interior design industries. Several sustainability initiatives are present in the textile production and processing chains. Many companies want to make environmentally responsible products, but do not know how. This is because a circular value chain has completely different values and standards compared to the traditional linear production chain. Solutions from Twente for global challenges are needed. Such solutions aimed at a biobased or circular economy truly create smart impact for a sustainable future in the fashion, work clothing and interior industries.

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Separated waste collection

The European Commission has made proposals to regulate the separation of textile waste more strictly. Around 2025, textile waste must be collected separately throughout the European Union. This separation provides innovation opportunities. By 2030, half of the textile production should be circular. In 2050 it should not only be fully circular but also completely CO2 neutral.


The textile industry must globally be alert to digital transformation. Market reach can be increased through the online effects of production processes. It is becoming increasingly important to take a position on social and environmental issues. This requires transparency and sustainability. The new generation of customer demands such changes and has different expectations compared to previous generations. Changes in the textile industry require investment in advanced processes. Smart industry leads to increased productivity and more resilient smart textiles.

Trends and developments

We highlight three trends in the textile industry: end of ownership of textiles, fast and seamless fulfilment of textiles and on-demand and personal production. Consumers become more and more concerned about sustainability. Textiles, for example, jeans, can be reused and leased. Supply chains must be more environmentally friendly and transparent. Mobile shopping and fast (drone) delivery is the future. Through automation and data analysis, production will be more personal and on demand, thus reducing waste and keeping stocks low. All these trends are important to produce waste-free and circular.

Textile industry in Twente

Back in the days, Twente had a rich textile industry. From this industry, numerous companies have evolved to be active in Europe and globally. They either evolved by continuously innovating (technical) textile materials, or come from well-known textile companies that disappeared when the industry went down. Another and last group of companies that is currently active come from different industries. They reacted to the opportunities and possibilities of (technical) textiles as a source of innovative solutions.

#smart textiles companies in Twente
  • Ideavelop from Goor
  • TenCate Outdoor Fabrics from Nijverdal
  • Coulisse from Enter
  • Hassing Totaalstoffering from Enschede
  • Denimtex from Enschede
  • Het Goed from Hengelo
  • De Beurs from Enschede
  • Frankenhuis from Haaksbergen
  • Hogeschool Saxion from Enschede
  • Stichting Hibernate from Enschede
  • TenCate Protective Fabrics from Nijverdal