Regulatory Affairs Directorate
Market Surveillance Directorate

Textiles And clothing

The textile and clothing industry is a very diverse and heterogeneous industry, with its products being used by virtually everybody – private households and business alike. The textile and clothing industry comprises :

  • the treatment of raw materials, i.e. the preparation or production of various textiles fibres, and/or the manufacture of yarns (e.g. through spinning).
  • "Natural" fibres include cotton, wool, silk, flax, jute, etc.
  • "Man-made" fibres include cellulosic fibres (e.g. viscose), synthetic fibres (i.e. organic fibres based on petrochemicals, such as polyester, nylon/polyamide, acrylic, polypropylene, etc), and fibres from inorganic materials (e.g. glass, metal, carbon or ceramic).
  • the production of knitted and woven fabrics (i.e. knitting and weaving);
  • finishing activities – aimed at giving fabrics the visual, physical and aesthetic properties which consumers demand – such as bleaching, printing, dyeing, impregnating, coating, plasticising, etc;
  • the transformation of those fabrics into products such as:
  • garments, knitted or woven (= the so-called "clothing" industry);
  • carpets and other textile floor covering;
  • home textiles (such as bed linen, table linen, toilet linen, kitchen linen, curtains, etc);
  • technical or ‘industrial’ textiles.

The textile and clothing industry is also intertwined with the agricultural sector when it needs inputs in the form of natural fibres (such as cotton or wool), and with the chemicals industry when it comes to the wide range of man-made fibres such as nylon or polyester.

 Further information on the textiles & clothing industry can also be found on the Commission's enterprise website.