Sustainable transformation of the textile industry in Dietenheim, University Ulm

Sustainable transformation of the textile industry in Dietenheim, University Ulm

Scientists from the University of Ulm and Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences are researching and working for a trend reversal in the textile industry. The aim of the real laboratory is to revitalise the textile city of Dietenheim in a sustainable manner through different approaches. Furthermore, a local, sustainable transformation of the textile value chain is aimed for. In cooperation with companies and actors of the local textile industry, we try to embed the entire textile value chain regionally and transparently, easy to access for the customer. The focus here is on the presentation of ideas, innovative concepts and business models for sustainable textile production and more conscious textile consumption. However, the project does not only want to appeal to producers, but also to encourage consumers to reconsider their attitude and behaviour. Through participatory design and actions, end users are integrated into the design process, and are for example taught how to repair purchased textiles or design them themselves. The aim is to create a deeper understanding of quality, time and appreciation of the garment and local production.

Field of Innovation

  • Retail
  • Work and Industry


  • Showroom  
  • User studies  
  • Business model development  
  • Co-Design  
  • Sustainability assessment  


Contact Name: Britta Stegen

Helmholtzstraße 18
D-89073 Ulm

Reference project

Sewing cafe

In July 2016, the University of Ulm, Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences and the city of Dietenheim opened a local sewing cafe. Citizens are cordially invited to actively participate in the process of revitalising the city centre. The framework of the sewing café offers local residents, new members of the public and project staff the opportunity to learn about the sustainable use of textiles through joint sewing, upcycling and handicraft workshops and to facilitate informal learning and getting to know each other. Trade fair: With the annual Dietenheim trade fair, the city of Dietenheim becomes a platform for new and sustainable concepts in the apparel industry. Established companies introduce themselves and their products as well as start-ups whose concepts are still in the trial phase. They all share the same goal: to counteract the fast-moving clothing market with sustainable and responsible handling of textiles that retain their value.
Dietenheim attracts visitors with new and innovative products and usage concepts, as well as companies with good networking among themselves and a media presence for a topic that is becoming increasingly important to consumers.


Ref Period: Nähcafe: 07/2016 - 06/2018, Messe: 10/2017, 05/2017 und 06/2018