Martin Leuthold

Video/Schnitt: Melanie Hofmann
Musik: Daniel Hobi

Martin Leuthold, 1952

Creative Director, Jakob Schlaepfer Textiles, St. Gallen

By award­ing him with the Grand Prix De­sign, the Swiss Con­fed­er­a­tion rec­og­nizes Mar­tin Leuthold as a key fig­ure of the Swiss tex­tile in­dus­try who suc­cess­fully com­bines in­no­v­a­tive vigour, the pro­mo­tion of new tal­ent and in­ter­na­tional stand­ing.
The renowned fab­ric de­signer Mar­tin Leuthold has been work­ing in the tex­tile in­dus­try of St. Gallen for 44 years. In his role as cre­ative di­rec­tor he has brought in­ter­na­tional fame to the Jakob Schlaepfer com­pany in the fields of haute cou­ture, ready-to-wear and in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion. His fab­rics and em­broi­dery cre­ations are in great de­mand through­out the world and are used by il­lus­tri­ous fash­ion houses such as Akris, Chris­t­ian Dior, Marc Ja­cobs, Louis Vuit­ton and Vivi­enne West­wood.
The global suc­cess of Mar­tin Leuthold is in­ti­mately linked to the his­tory of tex­tiles and em­broi­dery in East­ern Switzer­land in which he is deeply rooted. Through his ded­i­ca­tion to this in­valu­able, 800-year-old tra­di­tion, he has been able to mod­ern­ize its val­ues and trans­late them into today’s 'Zeit­geist'.
Across the ages, fash­ion has in­vari­ably been con­cerned with new ways of defin­ing one­self, with iden­ti­fy­ing so­ci­etal trends and with ex­press­ing the lat­est ten­den­cies. The dig­i­tal era de­mands an al­to­gether new ap­proach. Through his in­stru­men­tal role in the de­vel­op­ment of new tech­nolo­gies, Leuthold is re­garded as a con­tin­ual in­no­va­tor. His fab­rics that com­bine high tech­nol­ogy with aes­thetic ap­peal make him a trend­set­ter in the tex­tile in­dus­try. He de­signs some 1,000 fab­rics each year, which are pro­duced using laser tech­nol­ogy, inkjet print­ing, 3D, lu­mi­nes­cent ma­te­ri­als and metal and foam el­e­ments. Mar­tin Leuthold re­ceived the De­sign Preis Schweiz for his ul­tra­fine poly­ester fab­ric, which he coats with alu­minium, cop­per or bronze, and prints on one side with del­i­cate dig­i­tal flo­ral pat­terns.
In ad­di­tion to pro­duc­ing fab­rics for the fash­ion in­dus­try, Leuthold also de­vel­ops tex­tiles for in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion, in­clud­ing ex­clu­sive wall­pa­pers and cur­tain fab­rics. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ers, Mar­tin Leuthold is de­vel­op­ing so­phis­ti­cated tech­nolo­gies that en­able ma­te­ri­als and wall­pa­pers to be vac­uum-coated with wafer-thin metal, sil­ver or gold.
Not every prod­uct in his wide-rang­ing col­lec­tion of fab­rics is pro­duced by ma­chine how­ever. In­dus­trial hand­i­craft rep­re­sents an in­te­gral part of the pro­duc­tion process that is firmly grounded in tra­di­tion, and is what makes these prod­ucts so unique and inim­itable.
Mar­tin Leuthold found the per­fect con­di­tions for im­ple­ment­ing his vi­sion at Jakob Schlaepfer, with which he has been as­so­ci­ated since 1973. The com­pany is deeply com­mit­ted to in­no­va­tion and pro­mot­ing young tal­ent. Mar­tin Leuthold pro­vides as­pir­ing tex­tile and fash­ion de­sign­ers with ideal, lab­o­ra­tory-like con­di­tions and is greatly val­ued in the in­dus­try as an out­stand­ing men­tor and pro­moter of young tal­ent.
Leuthold has also made a name for him­self in the cul­tural realm as a cu­ra­tor of tex­tile ex­hi­bi­tions, such as 'Bling­Bling' at the Lan­desmu­seum in Zurich (2004) and 'StGall – the Story of Lace' in St Gallen (2011). And he has also served as cos­tume de­signer and scenog­ra­pher at the Ori­gen Fes­ti­val of Cul­ture in the Grisons