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FILE PHOTO: A model presents a creation by Dutch designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren as part of their Spring/Summer 2015 women's ready-to-wear collection for Viktor & Rolf fashion house during Paris Fashion Week September 27, 2014. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

London Fashion Week: Surge in independent fashion businesses as interest in second-hand and sustainable clothing grows


  • Sustainability theme dominates London Fashion Week as designers and heritage brands double-down on sustainable focus on runways
  • As London Fashion Week concludes, Simply Business data reveals a 23% surge in independent fashion small businesses in past 12 months
  • Growth has been coupled with increased demand for second-hand or vintage clothing, highlighting shopper’s interest in making more ethical decisions when it comes to their garments
  • From June-July 2022, searches for ‘circular fashion’ increased by 100%, ‘second-hand clothing’ increased by a half (50%) and searches for ‘vintage fashion’ went up by almost a quarter (22%)

22 September 2022 – With London Fashion week drawing to a close this week, sustainability was a dominant theme in this year’s show. It comes as the number of independent and local fashion businesses in the UK surged 23% in the past year, according to new data from small business insurance provider Simply Business, released to mark London Fashion Week.

Analysis from Simply Business of over 1,600 policies taken out over the past year shows the number of clothing shops and sustainable and vintage fashion small businesses has increased 23% in the past 12 months – with the UK’s small businesses leading the way in providing ethical clothing.

This growth is coupled with increased demand for second-hand or vintage clothing, highlighting a growing trend towards sustainable shopping and fashion. 

From June-July 2022, searches for ‘circular fashion’ increased by 100%, ‘second-hand clothing’ increased by a half (50%) and searches for ‘vintage fashion’ went up by almost a quarter (22%). 

Holly Watkins, owner of One Scoop Store in Stoke Newington, London said: “I’ve been selling second-hand clothing for 25 years, originally via eBay and market stalls. 

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“There’s definitely been a massive change in attitudes towards second-hand clothing. The demand is huge now, and the sector is set to overtake fast fashion within the next couple of years – I definitely wouldn’t have predicted this when I started selling vintage clothes aged 14!

“Consumers who previously wouldn’t have considered secondhand are now actively shopping this way, I think largely due to the fact that stores like mine make it so easy to do so. Previously you would have to trawl charity shops and markets, now so many businesses are doing the hard work for you.”

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “The uptick in small sustainable fashion businesses is demonstrative of the innovation that the UK’s SME community is renowned for.

“Small businesses are vital to the UK economy. They’re the lifeblood of our local communities and collectively contribute trillions of pounds a year in turnover, and it’s never been more important for us to champion and support them.”



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