Textile and Clothing Industry

For centuries, the textile and clothing sector has been one of the most important in the Latvian economy. It has very culturally significant roots, mostly associated with natural materials, high quality, and a true-to-nature lifestyle and values. For centuries, textile products were also important export commodities in the context of the Hanseatic League and beyond.

In the last century, Latvia was one of the most renowned flax and hemp exporters, with almost 70,000 ha of land devoted to the cultivation of these plants. Flax was Latvia’s second most important income source after timber. Latvian flax and hemp were associated with the highest standards of the time, as innovative and thorough control methods were used to ensure the highest quality of these fibres.

Linen is still an integral part of the Latvian textile industry, also contributing to niche products such as linen ropes or linen for technical uses. Hemp is also regaining its status through the introduction of new insulating and other technical textile materials.

TEXTILE INDUSTRY AT A GLANCE

Today, the textile sector is an important part of Latvian industry, combining the best of traditional knowhow with industrial and technological knowledge. This expertise has led to the creation of high value-added products such as silver and amber threads.

Around 11,000 people are employed in more than 1,800 Latvian textile companies, mostly small and medium size. The sector’s contribution to the total value added of manufacturing is 3.4 %.

The main textile industry sub-sectors are lingerie manufacturing, sewing, weaving, technical textile manufacturing, and artisan textile production. The industry is highly export-oriented, particularly the lingerie segment.

The competitive advantages for cooperation with Latvian textile companies are numerous, including short lead times, small and diversified production volumes, as well as price and quality ratio. Reliability and long-term mutually beneficial partnerships have allowed the sector to maintain its positions in the currently highly volatile market.

The industry is dominated by sewing companies that act as outsourced production for EU brands. However, there are also a number of local small and medium size companies that are working on their
own jersey, knitwear, and other material collections, bringing forward the idea of natural and ecological clothing.

Every year, local small and medium companies present new adult and children’s fashion, as well as home textile design collections admired by customers around the globe. Latvian fashion designers are gaining more international recognition by actively participating in prestigious competitions from Paris to Tokyo, as well as by attending numerous design-clothing trade fairs.

Many world-renowned automotive and airspace companies have benefited from Latvia’s competence in glass fibre production. In this field, Latvia has several highly innovative companies with great expansion potential.

TEXTILE INDUSTRY TRADE STATISTICS

Export markets have grown steadily, expanding to 140 countries. Without a doubt, the major market for Latvian textile goods is the EU, where our most important partners are the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

Export of Textiles by Countries in 2015

Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

The textile products export to the west is mostly under private labels. Textile production outsourcing in Latvia is an integral part of the business. At the same time, export to Russia and CIS mostly features locally designed fashion and lingerie collections, which have an esteemed reputation and appeal for highly demanding clientele.

Export and Import of Textile Products

Source: Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia

Obsessed with quality, our producers acquire only the best raw materials imported mainly from Italy, Poland, Germany, and Lithuania. These are later transformed into ready-made garments and other textile articles. The latest trends also show the willingness and ability of Latvian companies to acquire manufacturing plants in the EU.

Exports by Subsector in 2015

Source: The Association of Latvian Textile and Clothing Industry

Latvian companies in industry 
Database of Latvian exporters

Additional information at:
Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia: www.csb.gov.lv
Association of Textile and Clothing Industry: www.atci.lv
Association of Latvian Lingerie Manufacturers: www.latvera.lv