The St.Gallen Embroidery – Change as an opportunity

When Conrad Forster-Willi founded the predecessor company of the Forster Group in 1904, embroidery was Switzerland's most important export product. Much has changed since then. What has remained, however, is the fascination for the product.

Hardly any textile manufacturing process can compete with the charisma of embroidery, and no other technique is so versatile. Embroidery can be three-dimensional or super flat, it can create a soft drape or deliberately stiff handle. It can be transparent, opaque, monochromatic or multicolored. From cotton to elastic Lycra to raffia or wire, it can make use of all natural and synthetic fibers. 

Technical embroidery

Embroidery is also versatile, however, because almost anything is possible on the basis of embroidery technology. For example, the BIONTEC business unit now "embroiders" carbon fibers for survey drone structures and develops and produces carbon composites for applications ranging from the aircraft industry to medical technology.  The FRTI business unit in turn "stitches" conductive yarns as pressure sensors on operating tables and flexible light sources in the defense sector.

Pioneering in the digital world

While embroidery is carried out in our production halls on the world's most modern machines, Forster Rohner does not shy away from pioneering work in the digital world. Thanks to a digital embroidery workflow developed in-house, the company has succeeded in reducing conventional patterning processes in digital form from three weeks to three minutes. For this project, the team even drew in know-how from the gaming industry and was awarded the Leader Digital Award in 2023.

Our treasure troves

The success of the Forster Group is based on understanding change not as a threat, but as a challenge and an opportunity. Nevertheless, the Group also likes to look back. The past has found its refuge in the extensive archives of Forster Rohner and Jakob Schlaepfer. 200 years of fashion and embroidery history can be experienced through the hundreds of thousands of designs in the treasure troves and inspire employees and customers every day.