Partner Profile: TCBL
Textile & Clothing Business Labs
We are very happy to introduce our latest Sourcebook Partner TCBL, and the marriage of our two networks! Read on to discover what TCBL does and can do for you.
Who are you?
TCBL stands for Textile & Clothing Business Labs and is a European textile and clothing project born out of recognition that there are opportunities to return manufacturing to Europe.
What do you do?
We find practical and innovative ways to design, make and work together in order to develop new business models – from production to distribution – and collaborative networks across the continent that help return manufacturing capacity to Europe and are more environmentally friendly. For example, we explore natural dyeing techniques and rebuild value chains by exploiting consumer interest in eco-sustainable products.
How did you start and when?
TCBL started in 2015 as a research and innovation project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. It’s led by a dynamic team based in the city of Prato: the textile capital of Italy, and brings together 22 organisations from 11 EU Member States, from the UK to Greece, the Netherlands and Romania. We bring research-led expertise to a great mixture of textile and clothing businesses, from small brands and designers through to large manufacturers.
Where are you located?
Besides our base in Prato, we have 38 Business Labs across Europe. The Labs provide a space in which to explore and connect to other enterprises in the TCBL network. All the Labs have different skills and services so it’s the collective whole that makes it such a fantastic offering. Watch the video below as Ruth Farrell, manager of the Design and Make Labs in Huddersfield (UK) explains what services are on offer there:
Who are your clients and what products and services do they offer?
Our network of 300+ members provides a wide variety of products and services. Design, pattern making, weaving, knitting, recycling, manufacturing and consulting are just some of the services our members provide; many work with natural materials but others are using technology, e.g. for smart textiles, wearables and traceability through the supply chain.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Anyone who wants to transform the textile and clothing industry and be part of a value-based community, whether that’s brands, manufacturers, researchers or experts facilitating knowledge exchange and innovation. Practically, we believe that TCBL and Sourcebook members will be able to do business together, perhaps by providing solutions to Sourcebook members’ inquiries, for example.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
As a Sourcebook Partner we look forward to connecting our members together and developing more relationships in the Central Europe region. We believe the mixture of expertise between the two networks will lead to some very exciting partnerships and we are currently working on a small pilot scheme with a few Sourcebook and TCBL members – so watch this space.
TCBL currently runs six Business Pilots and we particularly feel that the one involving Short Runs can better link designers, manufacturers and homeworkers across both networks. In addition, we are always seeking to bridge the knowledge and understanding gaps between designers/brands and manufacturers that can act as barriers to them doing business together.
A number of TCBL members collaborated to work up an infographic of 35 steps between clothing conception and design to actual sale. It provides a simple but effective depiction of the many stages, including pitfalls and opportunities, that aspiring designers should be aware of when developing their creations for market.
How do you join TCBL?