To coincide with London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2012, the British Fashion Council has launched the ‘Future of Fashion - Strategic Considerations for Growth’ report, highlighting that the UK fashion industry is worth £21billion to the UK economy and that it is a big contribution to the global reputation of Great Britain as a' leader in creative excellence'.
In the report the BFC lays out its vision for the sector, identifying five areas which it believes have great potential and highlights the action required to ensure this potential is met - spanning skills, training, education, job creation, talent development, retail, manufacturing, philanthropy and sponsorship.
It also states that in 2009 UK fashion contributed £20.9bn or 1.7% of total UK GDP, twice as much as publishing or car manufacturing, and supported more than 800,000 jobs. This economic activity generated over £13bn directly in taxation to government resources from the British fashion sector.
The BFC notes that the immediate priority for the retail sector is to increase sales to visitors from emerging markets, particularly the BRIC economies; to invest in international rollout of our strongest fashion retail brands and to maximise the on-line opportunity. The report also highlights that one of the British fashion industries strengths is the strong links between the designers and retailers.
Manufacturing was a key section of the report indicating that even though Britain’s manufacturing has shrunk over the last decades there are still some opportunities out there, such as quality and luxury. Over half the designers showing at London Fashion Week make some of their collections in the UK, and some retailers including John Lewis and Topman have championed British-made after positive consumer response.
Harold Tillman CBE, Chairman of the British Fashion Council, said: “We believe that fashion can do so much to drive growth in Britain. By presenting this opportunity, whilst highlighting the challenges, we hope to unite the industry and government in doing everything possible to drive that growth.”
Concluding the report the BFC urges the British fashion industry to unite to tackle the identified key areas including developing skills and craft, optimising the power of ‘Made in Britain’, maximising sponsorship opportunities, as well as continuing to support London Fashion Week.