Here are the top UK fashion cities outside of London

It’s no secret that London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, the center of the UK fashion industry and that’s why companies, retailers and creatives are pinning their hopes on local and international success.

But in recent years fashion, despite its size, seems to have overtaken even the capital, as more and more cities outside the English capital are becoming hotbeds of creative communities and increasingly influential centers of learning. While many of these cities have long fashion histories and are therefore building on existing foundations, some are actively and consciously beginning to break into the industry in hopes of bringing fashion closer to home.

With growing interest in finding alternative sources of inspiration and business opportunities, FashionUnited has compiled a list (in no particular order) of cities outside London that are now captivating fashion audiences with their rich histories and lucrative retail outlets.

If ever there was a city that could give London a shot as Britain’s fashion capital, it’s Manchester.The Northern Powerhouse, once known as ‘Cottonopolis’ due to its integral role in the 19th century cotton industry, is now a bustling metropolis of indie stores and vintage shops that offer up an alternative to high-street shopping – although, this element is still a prominent feature among the city’s main shopping streets. Next to events like biannual fashion trade show Just Around the Corner and the newly established Northern Fashion Week, the city has also birthed numerous acclaimed fashion designers, namely that of Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson, William Baker and Henry Holland. A number of large-scale fashion conglomerates also call the ‘Rainy City’ the home of their headquarters, including the Boohoo Group, Pretty Little Thing and JD Sports.

Consumers are another driving force for the city, with a study by Chums finding that Mancunians were sixth highest in clothing spending in the UK. This was further backed up in a report by ONS in 2018, which stated that people in Greater Manchester were spending an average of 1,007 pounds on clothing and footwear annually.Manchester’s association with fashion comes as no surprise as the city’s history is rooted in industry, dating back to the 18th century when the city was at the forefront of all British cotton and fabric trade. Since the opening of the world’s first steam-powered textile mill in 1781, the number of factories has grown to over 100 over time. The Cotton Board, which operated in the city until 1972, also contributed to its status and was also responsible for launching the city’s first Fashion Week in 1950. Manchester then became known for its historic shopping districts, including Spinningfields and The Northern Quarter, the latter being made up of several parts in the 1990s.

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