The UK Fashion and Textiles Association (UKFT) has released encouraging industry figures showing UK exports of apparel and textiles were worth £9.1bn in 2016, rising from 8.5bn in 2015. 2016’s figures are up 28 per cent% in the five years since 2012. Apparel exports alone have risen 41 per cent to £6.2bn in this five year period, up £1.8bn.
The continued rise in exports is due to a number of effects, including an increased interest in heritage UK manufacturing, the creativity of British fashion designers as well as the importance of the UK as a key apparel trading hub.
The European Union was the UK’s biggest export market for textiles and apparel in 2016, accounting for 74 per cent of UK exports. UK apparel and textile exports to the EU rose from £4.9bn in 2012 to £6.7bn in 2016. Within the space of five years, this represents an increase of £1.8 billion or 36 per cent.
The UK trade deficit, which reflects the difference between imports and exports, increased to £15.4bn in 2016, up from £15bn in 2015. This figure represents an increase in the value of imports from £23.4bn in 2015 to £24.5bn in 2016.
Export is a fundamental part of UKFT’s activities, utilising the largest amount of Department for International Trade TAP grants of any industrial sector. In the fashion and textiles industry, for every £1 the government invests in trade show support, almost £70 comes back to the UK in export revenue. This season UKFT has taken 650 British companies to international shows including Pitti Uomo, Berlin Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and Premiere Vision.
Featured images: A Postcard from Brighton, top and Glenn Appin of Scotland bottom.