Growing Fashion’s Future in the UK
5 Priorities for an Incoming Government

Election 2024

Growing Fashion’s Future in the UK

Email your new MP to share your support for Growing Fashion’s Future

Share your support for Growing Fashion’s Future on your social channels:
Social asset
Social copy

The 2024 general election came at a crucial time for the fashion industry. Government engagement is much needed for our future success. As we celebrate 40 years of London Fashion Week it is a great moment to celebrate the diversity and impact of British fashion, whilst being realistic about the challenges that face the sector. 

Globally, but particularly in the UK, market conditions remain tough for fashion businesses. Here, we are feeling the challenges of our new trading relationships with suppliers and customers in Europe, and we are rebuilding our businesses after the shock of the pandemic. While promoting responsible growth, we are striving to promote British independent businesses in a global market which is experiencing a great deal of uncertainty.

We encourage public investment across all the creative industries and broader business sectors; however, we believe the UK fashion industry is underestimated and underfunded by government. For example, the Theatre Sector recently reported a GVA of £2.4bn (equivalent to 8% of Fashion and Fashion Retail’s GVA) whilst receiving approximately £167m of state aid from central government (through Theatre Tax Relief and Arts Council England Grants.) This represents approximately 83.5 times the investment the fashion sector receives from the UK Government (approximately £2m per year.)

The British Fashion Council looks forward to refreshing our partnership with government, whose support we need to design and deliver #FashionsFuture. We are world leaders culturally and creatively and can be stronger commercially.

Economic Impact & Employment of UK Fashion

The British Fashion and Fashion Retail Sectors remain crucial economic and social drivers within the UK’s world-leading creative industries, directly generating £28.9bn in GVA and employing 819,000 people (supporting a total of £67.5bn in GVA and over 1.4mi jobs through broader supply chain and consumer impacts) in the UK economy

Compared to other leading sectors, fashion’s direct contribution to the UK economy is greater than that of the aerospace, defence, and space sectors combined (£27.7bn) and employs over double their combined sector headcount of 304,000.

Cultural & Creative Impact of UK Fashion

The UK is recognised as a crucial incubator of global fashion talent, known for its eclectic and avant-garde style and iconic designers who have disrupted and challenged fashion conventions. Through the decades, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen have all shown radical and exciting collections at London Fashion Week, drawing inspiration from the creative ecology around them.

Alongside radical designers reinventing fashion such as JW Anderson, Simone Rocha, Priya Ahluwalia and Paulo Carzana, the UK is a centre of expert craftsmanship exhibited by heritage brands such as Burberry and Mulberry, as well as the new establishment typified by such brands as Erdem, Roksanda and Emilia Wickstead, which continue to produce instantly recognisable products.

British fashion is also at the forefront of sustainable and ethical fashion movements. Designers like Stella McCartney and Christopher Raeburn have championed environmentally friendly practices and materials, setting new industry standards.

The sector's creative impact is evident in its ability to continuously reinvent itself, blending traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge innovation and forward-looking business practices centred on sustainability.

5 Priorities to Grow #FashionsFuture

We have identified 5 key priorities for the sector:

  1. Restore the VAT Retail Export Scheme (also known as “Tax-Free Shopping”) and reform Business Rates to boost growth in the fashion retail sector.
  1. Greater trade and export investment for UK fashion designers.
  1. Support our world-leading fashion education sector with a commitment to STEAM, not STEM.
  1. Develop a new generation of businesses and skilled workers in the fashion sector.
  1. Introduce legislation to activate sustainable business practices to meet decarbonisation and net-zero targets.

These 5 priorities to grow the UK’s #FashionsFuture are targeted, proportional actions to support economic and social growth, employment and opportunity in the fashion sector.

The British Fashion Council can provide detailed policy costs and projected Return on Investment across our priorities, showing a clear economic and creative return for investment in growing the UK Fashion Sector.

By supporting UK fashion businesses, a new government will show that it is serious about growth, employment, and opportunity in the creative industries and wider economy. It will also project British creativity on a global stage through the promotion of our world-leading brands and businesses.

Download the full briefing here

For more information, please contact



We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience and for analytic purposes. By clicking I agree, you give your consent for us to set cookies. View more in the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.