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The Business of Fashion in the UK Today


Historically fashion has always been big business for the UK. From trading in wool during the medieval times to the industrial manufacturing boom in the 1970’s. The UK once employed millions in the clothing manufacturing sector in the 1970’s, however, the lure of the cheap needle overseas saw employment in this sector drop to 80,000 or so by late 1990’s.

Today (2020), the UK fashion industry is worth £26 billion of which £10 billion accounts for UK manufacturing. Other economic data (according to UKFT.org) that make up the fashion industry today includes 800,000 working in the retail sector and 40,000 in wholesale.

A growing positive is that exports have grown 30% over the last decade totalling just over 10 billion, however imports reached £25 billion and over 90% of what we buy on the UK high street is imported. With consumer spending close to £80 billion there is huge scope for further UK based manufacturing and sales going forward.

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