Announced by Natalie Massenet, chairman of the British Fashion Council, this increase is a staggering 21 percent in nominal terms, according to figures from the Oxford Economics 2014 report. This figure incorporates not only the direct impact of wholesale, retail and manufacturing on the economy, but also its effect on other industries including tourism and financial services.
The research also shows that the fashion industry is estimated to support 797,000 jobs, a decrease of 2.3 percent from the report published four years ago. Whilst employment figures have dropped overall the increased contribution to UK GVA reflects higher productivity within the fashion sector.
Massenet, told an audience of international journalists and buyers: “We are delighted that our overall contribution to the economy has increased. We are committed to supporting continued growth in the sector which we hope will lead to more opportunities in the future.”
Britain's fashion industry boosts economy by 26 billion pounds
The BFC is looking to increase those jobs in the next year by securing investment from the country’s business elite, with the investment pillar of Massenet’s five pillar plan, which also includes education, business, digital and innovation and reputation, as the focus of this season.
At the press conference, Massenet introduced Jonathan Goodwin, a founding partner of Lepe Partners, a merchant bank focussed on entrepreneurs in the digital media sector, who is set to spearhead the BFC’s investment plans.
Goodwin said: "We are looking to try and support investment, growth, and entrepreneurship within this sector by starting initiatives to encourage and demystify investment in British businesses."
The news comes after two of LFW’s big tickets Christopher Kane and JW Anderson both received investment from luxury conglomerates. Kane sold a 51 percent stake to Kering, while Anderson secured investment from LVMH, as did shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood.
Additionally, Goodwin, who set up the Founders Forum in 2005 to bring together leading entrepreneurs, also announced the creation of a Fashion Forum, to take place on June 24. Names including Sir Stuart Rose, the former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, Bill Muirhead, the founding director of M&C Saatchi, and Hugh Devlin, a partner of law firm Withers Worldwide have all pledging their support. The event will bring together entrepreneurs and influential investors in an attempt to support further growth in the industry.
London Fashion Week runs until February 18 and over the course of the five day event 77 designers will show presentations or catwalk collections on-schedule and will attract more than 5,000 visitors from buyers to journalists.