Of Material Value. Collection Textilmuseum St.Gallen


Textiles are omnipresent. Tens of thousands of people once earned their living in the region that was (Eastern) Switzerland designing, producing and trading textiles. Nowadays, they envelope and surround us from dawn to dusk. Good Fabric – what is that? How has it changed in the past, what shape will it take in future?

Good Fabric helps in all situations in life: textiles accompany us through life like a second skin, protect us, convey a sense of togetherness and create identity. Moreover, thanks to our clothing, we constantly communicate non-verbally – and sometimes highly expressively – with our surroundings. In addition, (home) textiles allow both working and private rooms to appear functional, comfortable and impressive at the same time.

Good Fabric promotes creativity: textiles catch the eye and are an expression of our way of living. Since the 19th century, the Textilmuseum has collected and preserved textile artefacts, documenting creative design processes and the spirit of technical inventiveness. The colours, forms, patterns and materials of the unique St. Gallen collection arouse the senses of visitors and lend wings to designers’ imaginations. The current creations that arise from this can be admired in the exhibition.

Good Fabric sells globally: for centuries, textiles were among the most important of Swiss export hits. Up until the 20th century, St. Gallen embroidery, Zürich silks or prints from Glarus found purchasers the world over. In the inter-war period, the Swiss textile industry collapsed, with only producers and merchants in niche products surviving. Today, demand is primarily for smart ‘textile solutions’ in the fields of medicine, mobility and architecture.

Drawing on alluring objects that range from glamorous stage dresses to the informative sample book and practical climbing rope, the Permanent Exhibition welcomes visitors to embark on an exploratory tour. In this, Good Fabric can be experienced with all the senses: thus, historical film footage takes viewers into cotton-weaving in Thurgau, while witnesses from the time concerned reveal the sources of their creative inspirations; textile raw materials can be touched, as can working techniques; and both children and adults are invited to come to the drawing table to try their hand at designing fabrics and clothes.

Anyone who grows weary from the many impressions and tasks can recover in the textile ‘oasis of wellbeing’ designed by the traditional St. Gallen company Christian Fischbacher. Overall, Good Fabric, on show from 12th May 2023, offers visitors the chance to delve into the fascinating world of textiles.