The UK apparel industry is facing logistical challenges from Brexit and environmental challenges from clothing waste, however, things are looking brighter for the industry. According to a report released by BizVibe, the UK is now beginning to recover from a slowdown in growth due to competition from Asia and uncertainty around Brexit, with textile and apparel production increasing by 2.5% over the past two years to reach GBP 9.1 billion in 2016. The country’s Textiles Growth Programme has helped create 1,600 jobs and 115 apprenticeships in its first year, and textile and apparel exports have risen from GBP 8.5 billion in 2015 to GBP 9 billion in 2016, an improvement of 28% since 2012.
As the UK textile and apparel market recovers from its recent slowdown, clothing consumption is thriving, which is leading to greater volumes of discarded apparel. This is becoming a significant challenge for environmental and economic sustainability in the country as The Guardian predicts that 235 million clothing items will end up in landfills this spring – an average of 19 pieces of clothing will be disposed of per consumer in the UK this year, 7 of which will be simply thrown out. Because of this, the apparel industry is being urged to focus on educating people on recycling their clothing.