UK exports of clothing and textiles jumped 7% year on year to £9.1bn in 2016, following success at European trade shows.
The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) reported that exports have grown 28% in the last five years. Clothing exports alone have risen 41% to £6.2bn since 2012.
It said the growth can be attributed to increased interest in UK manufacturing, the creativity of British fashion designers and the importance of the UK as a key apparel trading hub.
The European Union was the UK’s biggest export market for textiles and clothing in 2016, accounting for 74% of UK exports.
In the last five years UK clothing and textile exports to the EU increased 36% to £6.7bn.
Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “It is important to note that the UK is still a key exporter to the EU, as well as to non-EU countries. Much of our export success comes from our presence at European trade shows, which attract buyers and export orders from around the globe.
”UKFT is lobbying the government for more support for companies to increase our presence in European markets and also to significantly grow our exports to non-EU markets after Brexit. We are pushing hard for free trade agreements to give the industry the competitive edge it needs.”
The UK trade deficit, which reflects the difference between imports and exports, increased to £15.4bn in 2016, up from £15bn in 2015. This figure represents an increase in the value of imports from £23.4bn in 2015 to £24.5bn in 2016.