27/08/2019 – Stars of the Future – Part 5 — auf Deutsch lesen
The Silicon Valley of education in textiles
30 young students undertook a special kind of excursion to Berlin in June of this year, taking with them a sustainable fashion show.
Schools are setting an example!
From the Hochschule Niederrhein, University of Applied Sciences in Mönchengladbach, they showed the federal government, on behalf of the region of North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), what the industry’s next generation can do. Not only was Minister President Armin Laschet excited by their demonstration of fair fashion. “Textiles and fashion; in Germany they only work through innovation,” says Ingeborg Neumann, President of the German Textile + Fashion Confederation.
First Polit Fashion Night
The first Polit Fashion Night in Berlin showed some stars of the future from NRW. Under the banner “NRW makes fashion”, the Textile + Fashion Confederation and the region of North-Rhine-Westphalia invited students to the Polit Fashion Night in the capital. The audience was impressed by the variety and versatility of textiles education in Germany.
Indeed, the German textile industry’s “Go Textiles!” portal lists nearly 50 different higher-education locations across the country. At the end of last year, the Textiles Academy in Mönchengladbach also added itself to that list.
At the inauguration of the imposing building with its fabric façade, Wilfried Holtgrave, President of the North-west German Textile and Clothing Industry Association, stated: “Our textiles campus with its new vocational school and its close connection to the Hochschule Niederrhein fulfils all the criteria, paving the way for Mönchengladbach to become the Silicon Valley of our industry.”
Textiles Academy in MG – totally digital
Blackboards, chalk, notebooks and textbooks are nowhere to be found in the Mönchengladbach Textiles Academy. The lessons are completely digital. All students have a tablet, and instead of a library they have the Cloud. The North-west German Textile and Clothing Industry Association in Münster as well as the Rheinische Textile and Clothing Industry Association in Wuppertal have created, on their own initiative, a course for commercial and technical careers in the textiles industry in Mönchengladbach. They are investing EUR 20m of their own resources. Up to 350 students can be taught in the modern building at the same time.
The “new” Oxford of the Textiles Industry
The employers’ association in the south-west of the German Republic is in the middle of planning a new textiles campus. From 2022 onwards, different target groups will come together in the “Texoverse”, located next to Reutlingen University. They will include students with their own businesses, founders and investors, developers from different firms and researches from universities and neighbouring institutions. Students are to be educated about the entire textiles chain. 3,000 m² of workshops, laboratories, archives for materials, think-tank spaces and classrooms will be planned, built, and financed by Südwesttextil, the south-western textiles employers’ association.
Südwesttextil’s CEO Peter Haas:
“The ‘Texoverse’ is intended as a modern platform for people with an interest in textiles – across all age groups, qualifications and industries. I’d like to see the ‘Texoverse’ become a hybrid workshop of the future, in which the next generation of the textiles industry is educated, new products and new businesses are created, and in which business comes together with the sciences in a more focused way.”
Reutlingen is to return to the times when it was known as the “Oxford of the textiles industry”. Even trend scouts and developers from other technology industries, such as automotive, air and space travel, computer science, or medical technologies, will be able to find a point of contact there.
The textile profession is becoming more and more important as a cross-disciplinary area of technology, especially in the fields of mobility, sustainability and construction, or as a carrier of sensor systems in medicine. According to Haas, the future of textiles in Reutlingen can be summarised in one sentence: “The ‘Texoverse’ will be a place where young talent and seasoned experts come together to develop new ideas.” In addition, business and the sciences will collaborate in design-thinking and VR laboratories, as well as on start-up platforms and in tutorial firms.
Bodo Th. Bölzle, President of Südwesttextil:
“The ‘Texoverse’ will strengthen the whole region including other institutions, such as the textile institutes in Denkendorf and Albstadt-Sigmaringen University. In Reutlingen, we intend to utilise the textile faculty’s modern machinery more effectively, for the university-level course as well as for the vocational training course.”
Michael Gorezky, Dean of the Faculty of Textiles and Design:
“It will be inspiring for everyone involved. The ‘Texoverse’ brings people with different skills together, who will later meet again and collaborate in the workplace.”
He created the concept together with Südwestextil. The shared campus will encourage mutual respect, the honing of social and team skills and provide an early experience of a flexible approach to work.
Reutlingen in the heart of the “Textiles Valley”
Reutlingen lies as the foot of the Swabian Alb, at the very heart of the “Textiles Valley” in Baden-Württemberg, in a cluster of the textiles supply chain, with yarn and textile manufacturers, finishers, buyers from the automotive industry, market leaders in textile machine manufacture, world-famous fashion labels and numerous home textile manufacturers. The students from Reutlingen University recently illustrated what companies can achieve with textiles at a Südwesttextil members meeting. Aside from fashion from Baden-Württemberg, they even brought airbags and bandage materials onto the catwalk, demonstrating just how diverse the stars of the future textiles industry really are.