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Mapping the UK Fashion, Textiles and Technology Ecosystem: BFTT Report


A new report identifies opportunities for investment, research and development, business growth, job creation and tackle skills gaps in the UK fashion, textiles and technology (FTT) ecosystem.

Based on a survey of more than 2,400 small, medium and micro businesses (SMEs) and over 100 stakeholders and intermediaries, including UKFT and fellow industry specialists, trade bodies and workspace providers, the report is one of the most extensive baseline studies to date on FTT SMEs and the first comprehensive insight into the UK FTT ecosystem leading up to March 2020.

It was created by the Business of Fashion, Textiles & Technology Creative R&D Partnership, led by University of the Arts London, as part of the Creative Industries Cluster Programme, delivered by the AHRC.

Adam Mansell, CEO of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT), said: “The UK fashion and textiles sector has changed significantly in the past 20 years. It is no longer defined by traditional designer fashion. Today, the UK’s fashion, wider apparel and textiles manufacturing sector produces over £9 billion of product for export, ranging from designer creations seen on the top catwalks to growing specialist markets in sportswear products to fabrics used in medical, defence and transport industries. Yet the sector receives limited research and development (R&D) funding. Now more than ever, we must also continue to address the shortage of skills and training in the sector and in UK-based advanced manufacturing.

“This timely report shares the UKFT’s belief that, with sufficient R&D funding, academic and cross-sectoral business support, the creative industries, a skilled workforce and small business growth will be essential drivers of the UK’s economic recovery and growth. This report is an essential read that forms the baseline for further study, and investment into the sector.”




The Business of Fashion, Textiles, and Technology is working in collaboration with the Future Fashion Factory to develop and implement a second phase of the research. Building on this initial report, the survey will focus on the impact from Brexit, Covid-19, and will provide insight regarding emergent opportunities, technology and innovation across UK FTT, and adjacent sectors. Updates on this and other reports in progress will be reported in due course.