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St Gallen The rise and fall of St Gallen textiles

St Gallen was once a world-renowned textile capital. Today, very little of the industry remains. One of the last great names of the textile industry, Bischoff Textil, announced last month that it would outsource production to Asia. What remains of the textile stronghold? 

Bischoffexternal link, an embroidery company from St Gallen in northeastern Switzerland, is moving most of its production to Thailand and Sri Lanka. Switzerland has become too expensive for the production and sale of high-quality embroidery and textiles. 

Of the 1,000-strong global workforce, 76 people currently work in Switzerland. Of these, 45 are expected to lose their jobs.

The company is based on a long St Gallen tradition in the textile industry. As early as the Middle Ages the textile industry was the economic backbone of eastern Switzerland. For centuries, thousands of families and workers lived from manufacturing and trading textiles. Of particular value was St Gallen embroidery, which became one of Switzerland’s most important exports in the mid-19th century up until the First World War. 


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