Sweden has ancestral knowledge regarding the manufacture and printing of textiles. It is also known worldwide for its exceptional design. Since the beginning of the 17th century, Swedish craftsmen have been designing finely woven textiles, mainly with flax fiber or even cotton, then developing a style that is very typical and distinct in the country. Even today, everything is done by hand.
For example, we can cite the essential school of textile design Svenskt Tenn. Designer Josef Frank was inspired by the organic shapes and colors of nature to create his prints for Svenskt Tenn. This stylistic expression was stamped “Swedish Modern” following the company’s international breakthrough at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937.
There are many textile manufacturers in Sweden. The biggest names have been compiled and grouped together. All respect the ancestral Swedish techniques of textile production. Everything is handmade in small volume, both for the weaving and for the printing on the fabric.
Founded in 1946, every meter of Frösö Handtryck fabric is printed there by hand at the company’s factory in Frösön, in the province of Jämtland in central Sweden. One often notices floral motifs and scenes of nature, although the aesthetic has been constantly modernized over the years to adapt to new trends.
Based in the historic linen and fabric production center of Växbo, Växbo Lin has kept the textile tradition alive since 1989. With an emphasis on measured production, 100% linen products are designed to last for generations.
Founded in 1692, Ekelund remains a family business, located in Horred on the west coast of Sweden. The weaving mill’s sustainable textiles are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. Most are made from 100% organic cotton and they are all woven on site. The printed designs have a traditional yet contemporary feel, depicting scenes such as tulip fields and seabirds.
Klässbols is a family business with a royal warrant. It has been producing 100% linen textiles since 1920. Klässbols products are made in Sweden and available in its factory outlet and in its store in Stockholm. Its products range from bed linen and curtains to table linen and towels. They have adorned the tables of the Nobel banquet since 1991.
The Textile Museum of Sweden
Sweden has its textile museum: The Textilmuseet (The Swedish Textile Museum) in Borås, Sweden’s textile mecca, located in Västergötland, in the southwest of the country. Exhibitions, workshops and other activities showcase the sector’s high-tech past and future. You can, for example, try on clothes from various periods of the 20th century.
In another vein, the French Institute in Sweden presented an exhibition on the Wax fabric in September 2020. Tracing the origin of this printing technique, starting from Indonesian villages, passing through cotton fields in America , from European industrial factories to the bustling markets and sewing schools of West Africa, the exhibition showcased the story of a fabric and how it became the symbol of a continent, its people and their struggle for freedom.