The history of Lyon through skills: Fashion Technology

18 October 2023

France is globally known as the country of luxury, with fashion and Haute Couture being an integral part of the country’s culture and history. Over the course of time, major fashion houses looked to Lyon, Host City of WorldSkills Lyon 2024, as the fashion industry’s silk expert. Discover more about this below. 

Fashion Technology will be among the skills represented at WorldSkills Lyon 2024. It’s a great opportunity for international Competitors and for visitors to get to know the rich history of the city regarding the fashion industry. Over centuries, Lyon and its region progressively became a major production centre for the silk industry in Europe. 

Silk, the jewel of the city of Lyon  

The history of the silk industry in Lyon is a tale of remarkable craftsmanship and industrial innovation. Lyon’s involvement in silk production dates back to the 16th century, but it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that the city truly earned its title of “Silk Capital of the World.” During this period, Lyon’s silk industry flourished, thanks to pioneering techniques in silk weaving and dyeing. The introduction of Jacquard looms, named after the local inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard, revolutionized textile production. These looms enabled the creation of intricate and highly sought-after silk fabrics, establishing Lyon’s reputation for quality and design. 

An ongoing legacy 

Lyon became a hub for skilled artisans who produced luxurious silk materials, and the city’s silk products were in high demand across Europe and beyond. The industry played a significant role in Lyon’s economic and cultural development. In the 20th century, Lyon’s silk industry faced challenges, including changing fashion trends and increased competition, leading to a decline. Nonetheless, the city still upholds its silk heritage and craftsmanship, maintaining a presence in the industry and celebrating its historical significance. 

We are excited that Competitors and visitors from around the world will soon have the chance to immerse themselves in Lyon’s dynamic fashion culture at WorldSkills Lyon 2024!

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