TEXTILES is often viewed as a sector in terminal decline.
A steady stream of high-profile company closures and job losses seem to suggest that the industry in Huddersfield is on its last legs.
Such an image is only reinforced by the trend to turn many of the town's disused mill into luxury apartment schemes.
There's always "trouble at t'mill" the argument goes.
The plight of textiles was underlined last week when long-established company Whitley Willows Ltd said it was to cease manufacturing in the town - with the loss of more than half its 160-strong workforce - and switch all production abroad.
Its range of rugs, throws, bath mats and bath towels can be made more cheaply in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey.
It is a familiar story to Bill Macbeth, managing director of Huddersfield's Textile Centre of Excellence.
But while he accepts further job losses are "inevitable" he argues that the town's textile industry still has a bright future.
Companies like contract furnishing specialist Interface, of Meltham; cloth manufacturer Taylor & Lodge, of Lockwood; and Slaithwaite's Spectrum Yarns continue to succeed in winning orders.
Taylor and Lodge, which has about 50 employees at Albert Street, has strengthened its hand by merging with Bradford-based Bulmer & Lumb to develop new markets for its for fine worsted cloth.
Interface, employing 270 people at Meltham and Mirfield, won a Queen's Award for Enterprise earlier this year in recognition of its success in recycling materials such as plastic bottles to make fabrics for seats and wallcoverings.
Spectrum is using state-of-the-art technology to supply seamless lambswool sweaters to more than 750 golf clubs across the UK and many others in the USA, France, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Portugal.
Mr Macbeth highlights the importance of technology if Huddersfield textile firms are to flourish.
He said: "There's no ignoring the fact that production costs are much lower in China than in the UK - and these days the quality of many Chinese manufactured goods compares favourably with UK produced goods.
"But there is still a future for manufacturing at the high quality, customised end of the market where delivery times and client contact remain important."
Mr Macbeth said most textile and clothing firms realised they had to take advantage of global manufacturing opportunities - not see them as threats.
He said: "We now have many excellent businesses in the region who have developed their own manufacturing capacity abroad, but retain the value-added activities of design, sales and marketing in the UK where we do these things best."
Mr Macbeth said there were "tremendously exciting" prospects for textile firms developing new products for the medical, construction and aerospace market.
"Many companies will have different kinds of jobs in the future and they will need a different set of skills," he said.
"But nobody should write the sector off.
"Our industry in the Yorkshire region remains strong with over £3bn of annual sales.
"These days, our companies are inventive and resilient.
"They will be there creating jobs and wealth in the region long after many of the finance houses, call centres and IT companies are long gone."