Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Power of Fashion

Holly Fulton, London Fashion Week New Gen designer and RCA Graduate

On the eve of London Fashion Week the British Fashion Council today unveiled a report it has commissioned from Oxford Economics entitled The Value of the UK Fashion Industry. This report is a particularly timely ''snap-shot'' of British fashion, particularly in light of the current economic state, with ''fast-fashion'' firms considering how to pass on rising costs due to scarcity of cotton supplies and the immanent VAT rise to 20% in January 2011. Fashion is often perceived by ''outsiders'' as flaky and frivolous, yet the summary of the report shows the industry is worth £21 billion to the UK economy, which surely is not a sum of money anyone, least of all government officials can ignore. The report also cites that the fashion industry is not only UK's 15th largest (similar in size to the food/beverage and communications sectors) it also the largest of the so-called ''creative sectors''. An interesting facet of this report, and one I aim to look at further, is that it takes into consideration the role of different fashion organisations, not just designers, brands, manufacturers and retailers, but also seemingly overlooked aspects of the fashion, including educational institutes, trend forecasting and the media, which all have an impact on the state of the British fashion industry, and equally contribute to its success. In the words of BFC Chairman Harold Tillman:

Fashion is a great British success story and this landmark piece of research underlines its true scope and economic impact.

The full report is available to view on the British Fashion Council/London Fashion Week Website at:

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