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Fashion brings billions to British economy

posted 17 Feb 2012, 09:31 by Mpelembe   [ updated 17 Feb 2012, 09:31 ]

As London Fashion Week takes place in the UK capital, with many in the industry predicting it will be bigger than ever, the British Fashion Council say fashion is worth almost 21 billion pounds to the UK economy.

UK-FASHION ECONOMY - With a pop of colour and a driving soundtrack - London Fashion Week is underway.

The quirky design duo Antoni and Alison showed what they'll have in store for autumn/winter 2012.

The UK capital's fashion scene is best-known for its bold designers, and for promoting fresh talent.

But it's also big business for the British economy, says Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council.

Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council, saying

"Fashion, almost 21 billion pounds a year as a contribution to the our economy , it's twice the size of the chemical industry, the motor industry. I think the fact is, you know, it hasn't really ever been taken that seriously and we are now telling people it really is a great industry."

An estimated 100 million pounds - or 158 million dollars - of orders are placed during the event for each season's clothing - a fact that's not lost on the designers showcasing their collections.

Philip Green owns British high-street retail group Arcadia, which includes the store Topshop, a London Fashion Week sponsor which works with young designers. He wants to see more fashion manufactured in Britain.

Philip Green, Owner of Arcadia, saying

"There isn't enough capacity here, as I've said to other people, Topman would like to make Made in Britain and I think we need to look at other categories for longevity, but I feel, if you speak to other retailers tdoay, they'd like to make goods nearer home for quick production."

The fashion industry point to designers like Stella McCartney returning to show in London as a sign of capital's appeal.

Shannon Edwards is Managing Director of ShopStyle.

She says 2012 looks set to be a lucrative year for British design - and that's partly thanks to anticipation about London hosting the Olympic Games in July.

Shannon Edwards, Managing Director of ShopStyle, saying

"There's Kate Middleton, Downton Abbey and the Olympics and frankly it's a great year to be British. There's a lot of energy and buzz, there's a lot of big brands that have come back, they're showing this year, and the economy's no so great, so people need a bit of aspiration and escapism this year."

The Kate Middleton effect has certainly boosted sales of some of her favourite brands from high-street names Reiss and Hobbs to higher end Temperley.

London has been home to a fair few fashion movements in the past - it does seem to be moving into the future with renewed confidence.

Joanna Partridge, Reuters