Sharon Reid


When citing the major fashion capitals of the world, London, New York, Paris and Milan always spring to mind, all the aforementioned have enjoyed this status for eons and hosting their respective Fashion Weeks only reinforces said status. London’s reputation for innovation and creativity does not seem to be abating despite the uncertainty following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, people and businesses alike, are, and will continue to be attracted to our vibrant capital. However, life in the UK does not begin and end in London – although the ‘London-centric’ amongst us will beg to differ, the North has experienced significant growth over the past few years especially Manchester; according to a report commissioned by Oxford Economics, entitled ‘Beyond the City’,* stated that Manchester would outperform some of the world’s top cities, including Berlin, Paris and Tokyo, for job growth over the next five years.

Manchester’s growing influence in the digital industry has also been documented in a new report by digital recruitment specialist Forward Role.** The report discusses Manchester’s strong fashion heritage – since the 18th century Manchester had a thriving cotton industry thanks to the then innovative steam –powered cotton mills; at its peak the city was home to 108 mills and dubbed ‘Cottonopolis’.

Although Manchester no longer leads in cotton production, its influence on the fashion industry continues to reign, through independent fashion designers/brands found in boutiques situated in the city’s Northern Quarter – a shopping Mecca which serves as a refreshing antidote to the generic high street brands found throughout the UK.image

In addition to the obligatory digital, creative agencies, Manchester is also home to successful online fashion brands Missguided and Boohoo whose commitment to providing local employment have boosted the city’s economy and secured Manchester’s growing reputation as a digital force.

Furthermore, Steve Thompson, Managing Director of Forward Role, identifies Manchester’s vibrancy and sums up its current transformation into a fashion hub:

“Over the past few years, Manchester has proven that it’s a vibrant city, able to stand on its own two feet and thrive. Its tremendous growth in the fashion industry proves this. Our report explores what has prompted a city that was once known as ‘Cottonopolis’ to transform into a modern hub for fashion driven by digital, where designers seeking jobs or a place to start their own brand now flock to. Manchester has so much going for it; a good economy, a rich history, fantastic job prospects, and we believe great things lie ahead for the city. People and businesses with years of heritage in the sector are looking at the likes of and their £600 million flotation and thinking, if they can do it, why can’t we? It’s extremely exciting to be part of!”

Steve Thompson -Forward Role

Steve Thompson -Forward Role

Why should businesses choose Manchester?

Price is a dominant factor when setting up a business, there has always been a distinct North/South divide in terms of costs; it’s well-known that the North is significantly cheaper for fuel, commercial property and mortgages – cheaper commercial rents equals’ faster growth.

Manchester boasts a large student population, not all new graduates hot foot it to London, thousands decide to seek opportunities in Manchester, therefore finding talent for a new business venture can also be added as a plus.

Finally, Manchester’s sense of community and overall friendliness is another reason why businesses choose this thriving city, which is in stark contrast to the loss of community and crippling loneliness London is often cited for. We often equate increased profits with business success, however, support and a feeling of camaraderie can also be important, contributing factors towards success.

Still need more convincing? Then read Forward Role’s full report here.