By Susan Perry Whitehead, Director Industry Sales, DHL Express

With most high street stores aiming to get designs from catwalk to store in less than six weeks, the industry has complex logistics requirements that leave little room for error.

As experts in international shipping, DHL Express has a wealth of experience working with fashion businesses and has created tailored solutions to meet the industry’s specialist requirements - coordinating everything from materials procurement, sample production, warehousing and international transportation for brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Jaeger Aquascutum and e-retailers such as Net-a-Porter.

Research commissioned by DHL Express has indicated a growing demand for British fashion overseas, with 70% of the small to medium (SME) UK fashion businesses surveyed agreeing that the demand from international markets to ‘buy British’ is increasing.

Fashion has the unique ability to transcend multiple cultures, without bearing the restrictions of language barriers. Furthermore, with the growing profile of UK celebrity and style icons such as Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge and Kate Moss) proving ever more popular amongst fashion fans across the globe, the appetite for British fashion is unlikely to waver anytime soon.

Indeed, over half (57%) of respondents identified the new Royal as the reason for the growing interest. That being the case, a sustained appetite for British fashion, means the UK fashion industry could be incremental to domestic economic growth.

However, while fashion SMEs are keen to capitalise on this growing appetite from international markets, to ensure that this is possible small businesses need support to navigate the choppy waters of international trade.

Those surveyed highlighted difficulties such as customs navigation (23%) and a lack of incentives to raise their business profiles overseas (21%) as issues to be addressed. There are a number of things to consider, from overseas customs and negotiating payment terms to understanding foreign markets — but with expert advice, we believe the fashion industry can play an important role in UK economic growth.

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