This summer has put Britain on the international map as one of the great countries for cultural and sporting achievement. This week continues this celebration as London fashion week arrives in London and sits alongside Paris, Milan and New York as one of the ‘Big Four’ epicentres for fashion.
Britain is the home of renowned designers and labels including Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Sarah Burton. British fashion week not only allows the best of British designers to display their work on an international stage, it also encourages and inspires a new generation of home grown talent. Aspiring designers can develop through accessing schemes provided by The British Fashion Council such as Fashion Forward and NEWGEN, where new talent is given the platform that it needs and deserves. Britain continues to produce new and exciting talent each year presenting a new take on what British fashion is and what it should be.
However the industries contribution to Britain is much more than designer clothes on a catwalk. In 2011 the British Fashion Council estimated that London Fashion Week contributes £30 million in direct spend to the London economy. In 2010 the council launched the ‘value of fashion’ report which estimated that fashion’s direct overall contribution to the UK economy was £20.9 billion. It is an industry which directly employs over 800,000 people.
Not only does the Industry provide a platform for the UK’s cultural and artistic achievements to be recognised worldwide, it provides career and job opportunities for individuals and is of huge economic value for the country.
The Fashion industry contributes an immense amount to British society and the economy. However, like any industry it is vulnerable to the economic pressures that a double-dip recession causes as well as competitive pressures from emerging economies.
The current Government has done little to reassure that the potential to continue innovation and growth in the fashion industry is protected. Barriers preventing aspiring designers from studying and entering the industry must be addressed. Whilst the world enjoys London fashion week, I hope it is a reminder of the immense opportunity the industry provides, so long as it is not neglected by government.