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Spending on womenswear up 5.5% as London Fashion Week gets underway

Lauretta Roberts
14 February 2019

The British Fashion Council has revealed that consumer spending on womenswear increased by 5.5% to £30.9bn in 2018 and spending on fashion overall will increase by 25% to £76bn over the next five years.

Created by Mintel, the figures were released on the eve of London Fashion Week, which gets underway tomorrow. Womenswear, which will be the focus of the coming week of shows, represents 51% of the fashion market with menswear accounting for 26%.

This season the British Fashion Council are putting a focus on a move towards more sustainable practices and their Positive Fashion initiative through a partnership with BBC Earth and designer Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl. The collaboration will explore the impact fashion industry has on the planet while highlighting the positive tangible opportunity for sustainable fashion choices by businesses and mindful consumer behaviour.

On Tuesday 19 February, the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design will be presented to Bethany Williams by the Duchess of Cornwall. The Award recognises creativity in design while embedding sustainability and community practices within the business.

February 2019 will mark the second London Fashion Week that the catwalks and designer showrooms at the event will be fur free. The BFC survey around use of fur continues to reflect what is seen as a cultural change with more designer businesses and international brands choosing not to show fur as part of their collections and increasingly more moving to being completely fur free businesses.

Further statistics highlighted by the BFC to highlight fashion and the creative economy's economic importance include:

  • - The fashion industry directly contributed £32.3bn to the UK GDP in 2017 ($41.8billion). This represents a 5.4% increase after 2016; a growth rate 1.6% higher than the rest of the economy. The Fashion industry employs almost as many people as the financial sector with 890,000 jobs (Oxford Economics, 2018).

  • - £42bn contributed by culture and creativity to London’s economy per year (
  • - £10m generated every hour by the Creative Industries (
  • - 1 in 11 of all UK jobs are in the UK creative economy.  This comprises jobs in the creative industries and creative jobs which are in non-creative organisations (e.g. design or marketing teams within manufacturers). (Creative Industries Council, July 2018)
  • - 1 in 6 jobs in London are in the creative economy (

Running from tomorrow until Tuesday 19 February, London Fashion Week will showcase 100 catwalks, presentations and events. There are some 52 on-schedule catwalks shows with highlights including: the return of Vivienne Westwood; Victoria Beckham, who will be showing her mainline in London for the second time; and Burberry's second show under its new creative director Riccardo Tisci.

London’s "New Establishment" designers continue to be a key draw for buyers and press with shows including Erdem, JW Anderson, Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, Roksanda, Emilia Wickstead, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou.

The NEWGEN 2018/19 line-up, the internationally celebrated BFC talent identification scheme includes catwalk shows from Kiko Kostadinov and Matty Bovan on Friday, Halpern on Saturday and Richard Malone on Monday as well as Supriya Lele and Paula Knorr who host presentations on Saturday 16 and Monday 18 respectively.

Wales Bonner will be joining the womenswear schedule for the first time presenting a co-ed show whilst Richard Quinn, British Emerging Talent Womenswear winner at The Fashion Awards 2018 in partnership with Swarovski will show on Tuesday.  NEWGEN Accessories designer ISOSCELES Lingerie will showcase her collection within the DiscoveryLAB and Alighieri and The Season Hats will both have a dedicated space in the Designer Showrooms.

The DiscoveryLAB is an experiential zone for thinkers, makers, explorers and innovators across the landscape of fashion, art, technology and performance will include presentations from Fabian Kis-Juhasz, HANGER, Katie Ann McGuigan, Miló Maria, NABIL NAYAL, NATALIEBCOLEMAN, POSTER GIRL, Renata Brenha, Rue-L, STEVE O SMITH, UNDERAGE and Wesley Harriott.

London Fashion Week takes place from 15-19 February with its main base at The Store X, 180 Strand.

Infographic (c), created using data provided by Mintel.

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