Independent fashion businesses on the rise as London Fashion Week ends for another year

The UK’s independent fashion scene is on the rise, according to Simply Business insight.

We’ve delved into our data, uncovering the fashion hot spots that are boosting the UK’s independent fashion surge.

With a shift away from traditional high-street shops, more and more consumers are turning their attention to pop-up boutiques and online sellers.

Nottingham leads the way

Somewhat surprisingly, the city leading the surge in fashion startups isn’t London, but Nottingham.

The East Midlands city has seen an incredible 125.93 per cent rise in independent fashion businesses since 2015.

Nottingham is the only UK city outside of London with a top-20 undergraduate fashion course, according to the Business of Fashion rankings in 2015. Nottingham Trent university was placed alongside schools in the likes of Tokyo and Florence.

Liverpool saw the second highest growth in fashion businesses at 76.92 per cent, while Nottingham’s neighbouring city Leicester also witnessed significant growth at 76 per cent.

London, meanwhile, hasn’t witnessed such a boom, with the cost of renting commercial spaces in the capital often prohibatively high.

The UK’s most fashionable cities?

The overall growth of independent fashion businesses has been helped from cities right across the country. Fashion hubs are popping up in all corners of the UK, with a fairly even distribution of high-growth spots.

Here are the top 10 cities that have seen the highest growth:

Top 10 UK cities Rise in fashion businesses 2015-2016
Nottingham 125.93%
Liverpool 76.92%
Leicester 76%
Bristol 68.29%
Milton Keynes 58.33%
Birmingham 56.41%
Glasgow 48.78%
Leeds 45.45%
London 37.45%
Manchester 34.15%

It should also be noted that the growth spreads further than the high street and pop-up stores - the number of online retailers targetting the fashion industry continues to grow, and with the recent changes to business rates, this could be a trend set to continue.

What’s caused the rise?

One of the likely causes for the rise in independent fashion businesses is increased interest. With countless initatives aimed at promoting local and independent shopping, consumers are drifting away from the traditional high street giants.

A shift in demand from fast fashion to bespoke and boutique clothing has also given rise to a movement of startups keen to capitalise on the trend.

Meanwhile, more and more Brits are looking to cash in on their hobby, and this growth in bedroom entrepreneurs is reflected in the growth figures.

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