It all started as an idea: bringing two textile worlds together in an attempt at creating synergies which would take the form of sustainable innovations for the future. In 2006, the idea resulted in the birth of the innovation initiative Smart Textiles.

Today, Smart Textiles forms the link between the extensive textile knowledge of the companies throughout the Västra Götaland region and the research and education of the Swedish School of Textiles, the University of Borås concerning the creation of innovative solutions. However, the work the Initiative carries out today is just as much a national concern and, increasingly, also an international one, as Smart Textiles is the driving force behind the development of smart textiles.

Today, the textile field comprises a whole lot more than just fabrics and clothes. For example, textiles are used in everything from reinforcement materials in composites and sound-absorbing walls to advanced blood vessels. Quality requirements and material choices are under constant change and new application areas are identified at a steady pace, not least owing to the work of the Smart Textiles Initiative.

The Smart Textiles Initiative offers a unique research environment in everything from fibre technology to design as well as access to the machine park and the skilled technicians at the Swedish School of Textiles. Since the autumn of 2013, Smart Textiles is geographically located at the textile centre of Sweden: in the Textile Fashion Center cluster, on the campus of the University of Borås. This is the location of our Textile Showroom, which is where we show new materials and which also functions as a meeting place for the business community and academia.

From here, one can reach more than half of the Swedish textile industry and the major logistic centres of this industry in only 45 minutes. This is also the home of entrepreneurial trading and logistics companies with long traditions which are ready and able to invest in new technology. The partners of Smart Textiles are found at the academic level, among others the University of Borås (UB) and the SP Technical Research Institute of SwedenSwerea IVF and Chalmers have initiated new research into the business.

Characteristic of the success of Smart Textiles is our clear goal: creating the foundation to create new business, new jobs and new innovative textile products. Success requires the full cooperation of companies, researchers and other partners.

The support of VINNOVA and the confidence placed in the Smart Textiles Initiative through the Vinnväxt grant have contributed to speeding up the process. Also, we receive strong support from the region and the fact that the public sector is part of the innovation system is an important part in creating synergy effects outside the Sjuhärad region.