Kortrijk: a tale of textile, design and fashion

Flemish cities blend centuries-old heritage and vibrant city life. Brussels, the capital of Europe, is without question a city of grandeur, and yet it is characterized by a sociable and welcoming character and pleasant, winding streets. The cosmopolitan metropolis of Antwerp sparkles far beyond Belgium’s borders, thanks to its important diamond trade, and is one of the continent’s leading fashion cities. Ghent, long one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, is known today as a fantastic city-trip destination – yet there is much to discover beyond these three destinations.

Bustling Kortrijk is a great example. This city on the banks of the River Leie dates to the time of the Romans. The city was founded almost 2,000 years ago and has always had a special connection with textiles, design and clothing. Over the centuries, Kortrijk has grown into the nerve center of the flax industry, an important raw material for all kinds of textiles. The city has woven a deeply rooted story of craftsmanship, entrepreneurship and innovation, a story still very much alive in 2023.

Kortrijk’s hearts still beat a little faster for everything to do with textile, fashion and design. Today, it is a stylish, vibrant shopping city. Reach the heart of the city via the iconic Broel Towers. You’ll find the area around the historic Grote Markt and its Belfry and the 13th-century Beguinage bustling with life. In the largely traffic-free city center, you can stroll from cozy boutique to fashion giant, and from vinyl and books to fashion, so much fashion, high-end designers and quirky, affordable fashion alike.

Kortrijk, Belgium
Texture tells the textile tales of Kortrijk, © Piet De Kersgieter.

It’s a wonderful place to shop (or window shop) and take in a little history at the same time. On the banks of the Leie, you will find the Texture Museum. It reveals the story of Kortrijk’s love of textiles and the history of flax in extensive detail. You will find more than just history here; it is not only in museums and the many boutiques that you can see the love of fashion and all things design. Every two years this fascination is very evident at Interieur Kortrijk. Each edition of this leading biennial shows all the innovations and new interior products from the Belgian design world. The biennial welcomes industry visitors as well as the general public. Here, Kortrijk leads the way. It is no coincidence that UNESCO added this city to its Cities of Design list.

Over the centuries, the long history of the flax industry has culminated in a love of textiles, fashion and design. Kortrijk is a modern city with a fascinating history where you will always find interesting, stylish things to do!

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