By Claire West

British designer Anya Hindmarsh, who was appointed last year by Prime Minister David Cameron as a business ambassador to support UK exports and to encourage investment into the UK, said today that British Fashion Week highlighted the innovation and creativity of the UK's many designers.

Anya Hindmarch said:

“I am extremely excited about the start of London Fashion Week. London is a true centre of creativity and home to a huge amount of talent underpinned by a strong support network provided by the British Fashion Council and UK Trade and Investment. London Fashion Week is a crucial showcase for gifted and innovative designers, both home-grown and international, and an event that we can be very proud of.”

Susan Haird, Acting Chief Executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), said:

“London Fashion Week is an excellent platform for British designers to showcase to the international fashion community the creative, edgy brilliance of our fashion industry, which is worth £21 billion to the UK economy and supports 1.31 million jobs.

“We look forward to partnering once again with the British Fashion Council to help new and exciting designers make their mark in key international markets.”

UK Fashion Factfile:

UKTI brings international buyers over to meet UK fashion designers and companies at events like London Fashion Week. London Fashion Week alone generates in the region of £100m, contributing over £20 million to the London economy. It attracts visitors from over 25 countries including US, France, Italy, Russia, Middle East, China and UAE, and generates press coverage worldwide.

UKTI provides grants of up to £1,800 for UK firms to attend over 80 fashion, footwear, design and textile shows internationally, such as 100% Design in Shanghai, Pret a Porter Paris and Berlin Fashion Week. Companies can also apply for solo grants to other shows.

Fashion directly contributes nearly £21 billion to the UK economy (1.7 per cent of total GDP). It also has an indirect economic impact, in encouraging spending in other industries, of over £16 billion. That equals a total impact of £37 billion.

The UK fashion industry directly contributed £13.2 billion to the national Exchequer in 2009, or 2.6 per cent of total Government revenues.

Almost 22.5 per cent of all retail's value-added contribution to GDP in the UK can be attributed to the fashion industry.

The UK fashion industry is a significant employer. Direct employment in the UK fashion industry in 2009 stood at some 816,000. In total, it supports some 1.31 million jobs.

The UK fashion industry has enjoyed strong growth over the past decade. Total spending on clothing and footwear has risen at an average annual rate of 3.3 per cent since 1999. In real terms, this is close to 6 per cent, a spectacular performance given that overall real consumption fell by over 3 per cent in the same period.

The UK fashion industry significantly and positively promotes the image of the UK and feeds into industries such as tourism.