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Monday, 19. August 2019  

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The UK designer fashion economy

Clore Fellowships


It has become increasingly evident to us that the UK designer fashion industry is neither recognised nor understood by those outside it. The Designer Fashion Economy is a high-end luxury industry; it is very different from the wider UK fashion industry, which embraces retailing, clothing and fashion as well as beauty products.

This research is an important first step towards understanding the UK Designer Fashion Economy. It will provide a benchmark for the future. The Centre for Fashion Enterprise proposed that the initial focus for research should be the relationships that make up creative businesses.

NESTA concurred: to understand how to grow designer fashion businesses, credible research into likely future developments was more important than a full economic audit of the industry, as it would provide insights into how these relationships could be managed and enhanced.

This research is a testament to the talent and resourcefulness of UK designers and a reminder of the opportunities we have to shape the UK economy. You can look at the Designer Fashion Economy and think it is relatively small based on its accumulated turnovers. However when you see its global impact on international brands, retail and the media, you soon recognise its international influence.

Then we can begin to gauge the sector’s wider economic impact, in generating content and revenue to those industries. Indeed, one might say that UK fashion designers are the most influential global players of all.

Apart from the report itself, another significant outcome of the research comes from the group sessions which steered this project. The group involved individuals from all aspects of the Designer Fashion Economy, and they wondered why we had not got together before to discuss our industry.

After all, we all want a stronger, better represented and more co-ordinated designer fashion industry.

The research also tells us to sharpen up and be cleverer in how we operate and compete globally. Being smart and thinking as one industry can make the most of the breadth of talent, opportunity and commitment in designer fashion, and help us towards long-term growth, sustainability and financial success.


The UK designer fashion economy (PDF, 843KB)









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