The Prato Textile Museum restarts from environmental sustainability, which increasingly promises to be the future not only of textiles but of the entire fashion industry. It is doing so with an innovative project, unique in Italy: a Textile Library, an extraordinary archive of its kind, dedicated exclusively to contemporary textiles and in particular, ecosustainable ones. The project is made possible also thanks to a 26,000 euro annual grant from the Ministry of University and Research.
“We are delighted to finally be able to share this new project with the public,” says the director of the Textile Museum, Francesco Nicola Marini. “The archive of contemporary fabrics has been enriched with new contents that we are making available to students, teachers, designers, professionals and operators in the textile and fashion industry, while the new exhibition area aims to be not only a tool for learning about contemporary textiles, but also for educating people on conscious consumption.”
Also located in Via Puccetti 3, Prato, the Textile Library is not just an archive of fabrics that are constantly being updated and evolved from the most varied fields of application, ranging from clothing to sports, from furniture to engineering and architecture. It also has a collection of fibers, yarns, accessories and materials for fashion, organized into specific sections including sustainability, textile dictionary, finishing and dyeing, technical and functional fabrics, fabrics for engineering and architecture, noble fibers.
In fact, the archive communicates closely with the entire textile and fashion world engaged in the study of innovative and experimental materials: from leading international companies in every sector to start-ups and research centers. The materials placed in the Textile Library will then be made available to designers, industry professionals, companies and students, in a virtuous spiral that captures and puts innovation back into circulation.
Companies in the Prato Textile district play a leading role in this veritable ‘material library.’ Collaboration with wool mills, yarn and raw material companies, finishing and dyeing facilities has in fact been decisive in the creation of the archive, reinforcing the historical link that, since 1977 with the creation of the Contemporary Section, has united the Museum with the production context of the territory, making it an interpreter of its innovative capacities and enhancing its technical and stylistic know-how. To date, more than 200 samples of yarns, fabrics, raw materials and accessories can be consulted in the Library and 40 companies have been involved in the project. “I would like to thank the companies that have so far contributed with their materials to the creation of the archive,” concludes President Marini. “We hope that during 2021 many others will want to embrace our project and help it grow for the benefit of all.”
The Textile Library is paired with a new exhibition area on the circular economy and innovation in textiles, which the museum has opened to complete the tactile path dedicated to the knowledge of raw materials and transformation processes. The Museum opens its exhibition space with the topic of the circular economy and sustainable innovation in textiles and fashion. Samples of yarns, fabrics, raw materials and accessories have been collected, catalogued and digitized to explore the most important aspects of this varied theme, a real field of permanent research for textile and fashion manufacturers. Thus, space is given to leather alternatives made from Mexican cactus leaves, but also to recycled cashmere and wool fabrics, as in the best Prato tradition. There is also 100% organic linen and cotton, a bag made with apple scraps, fibers in recycled nylon or polyester biodegradable in sea water and knitwear in recycled denim.
In addition to all these innovations, there is also the Textile Library Circular Symposium, the program – free of charge and open to all – of virtual meetings with some of the most influential fashion and sustainability experts organized by the Prato Textile Museum in collaboration with C.L.A.S.S. eco hub.

Sedacor cork fabric with three layers consisting of a fabric base (cotton or polyester), a cork intermediate layer and a surface finish
Leather alternative derived from apple waste produced by Frumat Leather S.r.l via the coagulation of a mixture of apple fibre and polyurethane, 50% apple fibre and 50% polyurethane.
Material made from pineapple leaves
Recycled nylon jersey fabric