Fashion Industry Guide

Clothes and a model

Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends, developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.

This guide will be useful to anyone starting a business within the fashion industry and also for those wanting to further their knowledge within this area.

Start-Up Information

COBRA logo
accessible via electronic databases
The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.

It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.

Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP) 

Bridalwear Retailer  BOP200 
Childrenswear Retailer BOP524 
Designer Fashion Boutique BOP272
Dress and Suit Hire BOP139 
Dressmaker BOP107 
Fashion Designer BOP003 
Fashion Accessories Retailer BOP109 
Lingerie Retailer BOP344 
Menswear Retailer BOP441 
Vintage Clothing Retailer BOP562 
Women’s Fashion Retailer BOP300 

Mini Business Opportunity Profiles (MBP)

Ethnic Clothing Retailer  MBP406 
Goth Clothing Shop  MBP328 
Indian Fashion Retailer  MBP358 
Milliner  MBP279 
Outsize Clothing Shop  MBP236 

UK Market Synopsis (SYN)

Clothing and Accessories Retail  SYN041 

Sector Guide (SEC)

Fashion Retail – Sector Update SEC021 

Small Business Help Books 

This is a collection of books located in the Business & IP Centre with practical information aimed at those starting and running a business. The books listed below can be found in the Small Business Help section under the Business Topics category.

Design Create Sell: a guide to starting and running a successful fashion business by Alison Lewy (2012) [SBH.BT.21]
Alison ran her own fashion label for 15 years and is the founder of Fashion Angels. This book takes you through the planning stages, the production process, building your brand and how to do your marketing and PR.

Fashion Buying by Helen Goworek (2007) [General Reference Collection YK.2007.a.15679] (must be ordered using Explore the British Library)
This book describes the buying cycle, buying for stores and mail order and how to start a career in fashion buying. A glossary of buying terminology, as well as input from fashion buyers currently working for major companies, gives a clear insight into this exciting and challenging role.

Fashion careers by Susan Henneberg (2017) [SBH.BT.29]
Easy-to-read guide highlighting some of the most interesting jobs that take place behind the scenes in the fashion industry. Readers will get a glimpse at what it takes to make it as a retail buyer, stylist, fashion writer, and more.

Fashion entrepreneur: starting your own fashion business by Sandra Burke (2013) [SBH.BT.30]
This book outlines the traits and techniques fashion designers use to set up small businesses. The topics include: creativity and innovation, writing business plans, raising finance, sales and marketing, and the small business management skills needed to run a creative company on a day-to-day basis.

Fashion Retailing: from managing to merchandising by Dimitri Koumbis (2014) [SBH.BT.31]
This book covers such things as branding, consumer behaviour, market research, store management, store design, and online retail.

Fashion stylist's handbook by Danielle Griffiths (2016) [SBH.BT.32]
A no-nonsense, practical guide on how to succeed, from landing your first job as an assistant to starting your own business as a freelance fashion stylist. It features interviews with international contemporary fashion stylists and advice from experts working within the PR industry.

Guide to fashion career planning: job search, résumés, and strategies for success by V. Ann Paulins/ Julie L. Hillery (2016) [SBH.BT.37]
This book helps individuals interested in entering the fashion industry prepare for successful careers – from self-assessment and goal setting to landing the first job. This book presents a seamless and comprehensive approach to everything needed for professional and career development, including résumé writing, interviewing, job search strategies, internships, and portfolios for fashion design, merchandising or retail careers. 

Guide to Producing a Fashion Show by Judith C Everett, Kristin K Swanson (2013) [SBH.BT.38]
Comprehensive guide on how to put on a fashion show. 

How to draw like a fashion illustrator: skills and techniques to develop your visual style by Robyn Neild (2015) [SBH.BT.49]
This step-by-step guide provides an insight into how to illustrate fashion designs and get your ideas down on paper.

How to Put On a Fashion Show by Eric Musgrave (2014) [SBH.BT.59]
Detailed practical guide on how to put on a fashion show, including venue selection, stage design, music and lighting, publicity and clothes and model selection.

How to Set Up and Run a Fashion Label by Toby Meadows (2009) [SBH.BT.63]
Also 2012 edition [General Reference Collection YK.2013.a.15469] (Must be ordered using Explore the British Library)
A no-nonsense guide to running your own business, whether it is within the clothing, accessories or footwear sectors. Packed with tips, case studies, and tasks to help you analyze yourself, your market and your product, the book is designed for anyone wanting to start their own fashion business.

Slow Fashion: aesthetics meets ethics by Safia Minney (2016) [SBH.BT.99]
This book offers creatives, entrepreneurs and ethical consumers alike a glimpse into the innovative world of the Eco-concept store movement, sustainable design and business that puts people, livelihoods and sustainability central to everything they do.

Street Style: an ethnography of fashion blogging by Brent Luvaas (2016) [SBH.BT.125]
This book documents the evolution of street style photography, from the fieldwork photos of early anthropology to the glamorized snapshots that appear on blogs today, and explores the structural shifts in the global fashion industry that street style has helped bring about.

The Fundamentals of digital fashion marketing by Clare Harris (2017) [SBH.BT.141]
Introduces and explores contemporary digital practice within the fashion industry. It is designed to inform and inspire today's graduates as the next generation of creative marketers. It identifies key digital marketing approaches and emerging technologies and examines their place in contemporary fashion careers and the opportunities they create for fashion graduates to design, promote and market themselves in a range of sites and formats.

A Practical Guide to Sustainable Fashion by Alison Gwilt (2018) [SBH.BT.181]
Handbook for both students and professionals in the fashion and textile industries. Gives an overview of the following topics: garment design; sourcing and selecting fabrics and techniques; pattern making and toiling; garment construction; distribution; clothing care and maintenance; reuse and re-manufacture; and material recycling.

European Fashion Law by Rosie Burbidge (2019) [SBH.BT.192]
A Practical Guide from Start-up to Global Success provides an accessible guide to the legal issues associated with running a fashion business in Europe. This concise book follows the lifecycle of a fashion business from protecting initial designs through to global expansion.

Market Research & Statistics 

If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.

Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc.

GlobalData logo

  • Casualwear
  • Childrenswear in the UK
  • Swim & Beachwear Capsule Report
  • The UK Childrenswear Market
  • The UK Clothing Market
  • The UK Menswear Market
  • The UK Premium Clothing & Footwear Market
  • The UK Underwear Market
  • The UK Value Clothing Market
  • The UK Womenswear Market
  • UK Childrenswear Trend Report
  • UK Plus Size Womenswear
  • What Britain Wears: Niche Clothing
  • What Britain Wears: Weddingwear

IBISWorld logo

  • Bridal Stores in the UK
  • Clothing & Footwear Wholesaling in the UK
  • Clothing Manufacturing in the UK
  • Clothing Retailing in the UK
  • Online Women’s Clothing Retailing in the UK
  • Plus-Size Women’s Clothing Stores in the UK

Mintel logo

  • Childrenswear
  • Clothing Retailing
  • Designer Fashion
  • Fashion Online
  • Fashion & Sustainability
  • Fashion: Technology & Innovation
  • Menswear
  • Purchasing Journey for Fashion
  • Summer Fashion (incl Swimwear)
  • Sports & Outdoor Fashion
  • Underwear (incl Loungewear/Nightwear
  • Womenswear
  • Youth Fashion

Passport logo

  • Apparel Accessories in the United Kingdom
  • Apparel and Footwear in the United Kingdom
  • Apparel and Footwear Specialist Retailers in the United Kingdom
  • Childrenswear in the United Kingdom
  • Designer Apparel and Footwear (Ready-To-Wear) in the United Kingdom
  • Menswear in the United Kingdom
  • Sportswear in the United Kingdom
  • Womenswear in the United Kingdom

Business News & Journals

In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching Factiva, Business Source Complete and EMIS.

You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.

You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.

Trade Magazines and Newsletters

Useful for gaining inside knowledge, recent trends, industry news, company profiles, reviews of new products and services. Some contain annual reviews and company contact lists. Ordered via Explore the British Library (please ask for help).

Drapers (Emap fashion) [Available onsite via electronic source up to June 2015 on Factiva] (up-to-date copies are in print format only and must be ordered using Explore the British Library – 48 hour delivery)
Formed by the union of Drapers Record and Men’s Wear. Fashion business magazine covering news, trends and business advice on womenswear, childrenswear, lingerie, textiles and accessories.

Global Apparel Markets (Textile Intelligence) [(P)338.47687 – E(1) BUS]
Business and market analysis of worldwide trends in the global apparel industry. Also includes chapters on new product developments and innovations, plus trade and trade policy news.

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management (Henry Stewart Publications, quarterly) [(P) ML 00 – E(24) Science 3] [also available onsite via electronic sources - ProQuest ABI/INFORM Global]
Edited by the Department of Clothing Design & Technology, Manchester Metropolitan University. An academic journal worldwide in scope, mixing theoretical papers with case studies of individual countries.

Knitting International (World Textile Information Network, monthly) [(P) MN 15 - E(1) Science 3]
Gives business updates, technology updates. Fabrics, fibres and garment updates as well as latest technology updates and also a global events diary.

Knitting Trade Journal (Mowbray Communications Ltd, bi-monthly) [(P)338.767702824505-E(1)BUS]
Comment and technical features on all aspects of the knitting and hosiery trade. This includes timely reporting of new knitting machinery developments, new fabrics and yarns and the latest news from the trade shows, which influence the industry.

Retail Week (Emap) [(P) AL 93 -E(5) BUS] [also available from Oct 1996 – Jun 2015 onsite via electronic sources – Factiva]
Newspaper for retail sector. Includes news on large chains and multiples, shopping centres, trends, sales, marketing and advertising campaigns, property, interiors, company and people profiles, sector reports, rankings, technology, services, job adverts. 

Textile World (Billian Publishing, monthly) [(P) ML 10 - E(61) Science 3] [also available onsite via electronic sources – EBSCO from 1997 and ProQuest ABI/INFORM Global from 1994]
This is an American based magazine covering the textiles, yarns, fabrics, fibres, nonwovens, textile machinery and equipment, knitting, dyeing, printing and finishing industries. It also includes country profiles, business news, supplier news and new products.

Vogue (Condé Nast Publications Ltd) [General Reference Collection ZC.9.d.565] (Must be ordered using Explore the British Library)
A monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine covering the latest fashion and jewellery trends. Held from 1916 to date.

The Vogue Archive (Condé Nast Publications Ltd) (available onsite via electronic source - ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
The full contents of Vogue magazine (US edition) in full colour page image, from the first issue in 1892 to the present, with monthly updates for new issues.


Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles.

Department Store Yearbook 2018 (Media One Communications Ltd) [(B) DIR 381.14102541 BUS]
Essential guide for department store buyers and decision makers. Directory of suppliers by type of goods, clothing, shoes etc. Also lists associations and events/exhibitions.

Docca: The Directory of Country Clothing, Footwear and Accessories 2015-2016 (Alibi Publishing Ltd) [(B) DIR 338.768702541 BUS] 
This directory contains a list of businesses and organisations engaged in country trade. Lists retailers and suppliers and includes an index to brands.

Printwear & Promotion: The 2019/20 Directory (Datateam Publishing Ltd) [(B) DIR 667.30254105 BUS]
Guide to textile decorators, embroiderers, manufacturers and suppliers.

Internet Sources

Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.

Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry

ASBCI brings together the clothing industry from all sectors of the supply chain - from fibre manufacture through to garment manufacture, distribution, retail and aftercare - and provides a platform for exchange of ideas and knowledge. 

British Fashion Model Agents Association 

The BFMAA is the trade association of the UK model industry. Formerly the Association of Model Agents, it was founded in 1974 to protect and manage the careers of their models. 

Centre for Fashion Enterprise

By way of a four-level programme offering, CFE provides expert guidance in the fields of finance, legal, manufacturing and marketing. From strategic advice on progressive business solutions to bespoke mentoring from industry leaders and key influencers. 

Chartered Society of Designers

Professional body representing fashion and textile designers, offering chartered status, membership services, career advice and training. 

Cockpit Arts

Cockpit Arts are a creative business incubator, providing affordable studio space and an array of support services which help designer-makers to accelerate their businesses whilst growing creatively.

Fashion Angel

Offer a range of business input and support options whether strategic, operational or preparing a business for investment, also mentoring, workshops and networking events and business funding.

Fashion United

The latest fashion news, links to fashion/apparel websites and jobs on the Fashion Career Centre.

Fashion Network

Online services for fashion professionals, present in 25 countries. Core UK activities include a fashion jobs site and a daily online newsletter with fashion business news. 


News, features, designer biographies, ‘how to’ guides, designers sites, online shopping, selected sites, etc. 

Just Style

For apparel, footwear, sportswear and textile industry professionals worldwide. Contains extensive summaries from reports by Key Note, Mintel, Business Intelligence, Retail Intelligence, Reuters Business Insight, etc. Latest news blog. 

London Fashion Week

Organised by the British Fashion Council and serves as a platform for British design talent. Gives daily schedule for London Fashion Week. 

The Business of Fashion: BoF

Fashion News, Analysis and Business Intelligence from the leading digital authority on the global fashion industry. 

The Chartered Textile Institute

This professional institute is a registered charity set up to support and inform all sectors and disciplines in textiles, clothing and footwear. Within the global textiles, clothing and footwear industries the aim of the Institute is to facilitate learning, to recognise achievement, to reward excellence and to disseminate information. 

The Design Trust

The Design Trust is an online business school for designers and makers. Their free resources include a regular newsletter, and an opportunities and business training listing. 

The Fashion Law

A showcase of emerging and established talent in the fields of fashion, art and music and a source of objective fashion law and business commentary. 

UK Fashion & Textile Association

UKFT guides and advises its members on all the essential aspects of running a business and supplying clothing and knitwear to the global marketplace. Provides a monthly newsletter and runs a series of seminars throughout the year. 


Has more than 25 fashion blogs covering beauty, fashion, and culture. You can also find VogueTV which features recent fashion videos from catwalks to interviews with models and designers and the latest fashion show highlights. 

Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk or check the online catalogue Explore the British Library for more details.

Images by, beyrouth, anne.oeldorfhirsch under a Creative Commons license