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The UK textile and apparel industry has always been well recognized around the world as one of the most influential players in the global market for its leading position in fashion designing, manufacturing, retailing and even fashion education. After a slowdown in growth over the past few years, due to strong competition from Asian emerging countries and uncertainty from Brexit, the textile and apparel industry in UK is finally showing signs of an impressive rebound.
According to the latest figures revealed by the Textiles Growth Programme in UK, the production of UK textile and apparel increased by 2.5% or GBP 200 million over the last two years, reaching total GBP 9.1billion (US$11.4bn) in 2016. New investment and government support are expected to further boost industry growth by creating more jobs, supporting more capital projects, training more skilled workers, and facilitating R&D.
As one of the most important forms of government support, the Textiles Growth Programme has helped create 1,600 jobs and 115 apprenticeship positions in England in its first year. So far, over 340 manufacturing companies have invested a total of GBP 123 million in the programme, creating an additional 4,450 jobs and 380 apprenticeships.
Meanwhile, the exports of UK’s textile and apparel industry have also achieved a triumph year in 2016. According to newly released figures from The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), the total exports of textile and apparel were worth over GBP 9 billion in 2016, rising from GBP 8.5 billion in 2015. 2016’s figures are up 28% in the five years since 2012.
The UK’s apparel exports alone have increased by 41% to GBP 6.2 billion from 2012 to 2016. The continued rise in exports is driven by a number of factors 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.
Currently, the European Union remains the UK’s biggest export market for textiles and apparel in 2016, accounting for 74% of UK exports. UK apparel and textile exports to the EU rose from GBP 4.9 billion in 2012 to GBP 6.7 billion in 2016. However, Brexit might bring new challenges to the industry’s prospects.
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