the British fashion industry is worth £21 billion a year to the UK economy and helps project an image of the nation as a global trend-setter, according to a new study.
Marking the start of London Fashion Week today, the British Fashion Council (BFC) report found the industry brings in millions from tourism all year round and clothes orders during the event itself.
A minimum estimate of the tourism impact is some £98 million in 2009, or 0.5 per cent of total tourism spending, according to the latest figures from the BFC.
The UK enjoys “a certain international brand equity”, due to foreign perceptions of the nation as a global style and fashion epicentre.
Examples of Britain at the front-line of fashion include the “swinging 60s”, the punk and new romantic movements of the 1970s and 1980s, the cool Britannia image of the 1990s and the marketing of the “London look” as demonstrated by Kate Moss.
Caroline Rush, BFC chief executive, said: “London is one of the most creative capitals in the world and also one of the most culturally diverse.
“These qualities, mixed with the inventiveness and individuality that’s so inherently British gives London an undeniable edge that sets it apart from any other city.
“London Fashion Week is vitally important, not only to the fashion industry but also to the British economy.
“It’s the UK’s essential showcasing platform of fashion talent that allows our British designers and the industry as a whole to be recognised by a global audience.
“Each season sees the value of orders placed in London stand at over £100m, and the event itself generates over £130m in media value in the UK alone.”
In a line-up of international fashion showcases in fashion capitals Paris, New York and Milan, Ms Rush believes London Fashion Week is the most “unique” and “exciting”.
“It’s the combination of iconic international brands alongside London’s outstanding new designer businesses that makes London Fashion Week the most unique and exciting,” she said. Meanwhile, designer Victoria Beckham has been on the catwalk herself at her fashion show presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York this week.