Fashion is a simple word to describe what is currently popular.
It’s generally used in conjunction with clothing, although it’s possible to have fashionable decor as well as other topics.
Today, fashion is everywhere, meaning it’s not surprising that most people want to know how much the fashion industry is worth.
Whether you’re in fashion or hoping to break into the business, understanding the latest fashion trends and the industry’s value will help you find your niche.
- 1 Key Statistics
- 2 A Little History
- 3 How Much Is The Fashion Industry Worth in 2023?
- 4 Interesting US-Specific Facts
- 5 Other Fashion Facts Worth Noting
- 6 Summing Up
- In 2023 the fashion industry has been valued at $1.7 trillion
- 430 million people across the globe work in fashion
- LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) is the top earning fashion business in the world
A Little History
It’s fair to say that fashion can be traced back to at least Ancient Egypt and Roman times.
Both civilizations are well-known for their love of looking good.
That passion hasn’t changed, although the types of clothing which have been called fashionable, thankfully have.
In the 15th Century, fashion was centered in Burgundy, it later moved to Italy and then France.
It’s worth noting that fashion was heavily influenced by colonial rule.
After all, it allowed various products, even clothing, to appear across the globe.
In the US, the original French colonists heavily influenced the clothing trends.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that America started to gain international recognition for its fashion skills.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a lot of changes as people felt free to experiment with a wide array of styles.
This led to the gradual boom in an industry that has established itself as a leader in the fashion world.
America is particularly prominent in regard to pop culture.
Of course, in those times fashion was dictated by royalty.
If they wore it, everyone else was expected to.
In that sense, fashion was also a social divider.
Fortunately, today’s fashion is inspired by many different people and sources.
More importantly, the general population is free to choose the style which suits them best.
Let’s take a detailed look at the top fashion statistics.
How Much Is The Fashion Industry Worth in 2023?
1. In 2023 The Fashion Industry Has Been Valued At $1.7 Trillion
According to the latest figures and predictions for the year, 2023 will see the global fashion industry be worth $1.7 trillion.
That’s a significant sum and one that is still growing.
Experts predict the industry will be worth a staggering $3 trillion by 2030.
In short, if you’re looking for an industry to join you should consider fashion.
It’s tough but potentially very lucrative.
The industry is growing, on average 5.8% per year.
In the US the growth is forecast to be closer to 2%.
Interestingly, the US fashion industry is expected to hit a retail target of $494.89 billion.
That means that nearly a third of the fashion industry is US-based.
The industry has become so large in the US that it now accounts for 2% of the GDP.
2. 430 Million People Across The Globe Work In Fashion
The world population is currently around eight billion.
Surprisingly, only 3.4 billion of those are part of the current workforce.
The rest are either unable to work, too old, or too young.
The fashion industry across the planet employs 430 million people.
That’s roughly 13% of the available workforce and illustrates just how big the industry has become.
It’s worth noting many fashion industry employees are based in Asia, producing the material or clothing.
This has become the traditional location for clothing creation thanks to the low cost of production.
3. LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) Is The Top Earning Fashion Business In The World
It can be difficult to calculate which fashion company is the most popular.
However, if you look at the sheer number of sales, it’s difficult to beat Louis Vuitton.
In 2021 it recorded revenue of $51.1 billion, and that was just in nine months of trade.
Christian Dior is hot on the tail of Louis Vuitton with $44.2 billion, while Nike shoes have an impressive $44.5 billion in sales.
Other companies that rival this level of sales include H&M, and Fast Retailing.
It’s a tough industry and selling the most this year doesn’t guarantee you’ll be doing the same next year.
These suppliers sell their clothing across the planet, explaining why you’ll find similar fashion trends wherever you go.
Interesting US-Specific Facts
- The average per capita spend on fashion in the US is $876
- Over 90,000 apparel employees are employed in the US
- There are nearly 5,000 fashion designers working in the US
- Women’s clothing is the largest section of the US fashion industry
4. The Average per Capita Spend On Fashion In The US Is $876
Sales of fashionable US clothing have been increasing year-on-year, with the exception of 2020 when the global pandemic caused disruption across all industries.
According to the latest statistics, the average per capita spend on fashion every year is $876.
That’s a significant sum when you think there are 330 million people living in the US.
The trend has been steadily rising.
In 2010 the average per capita spend was $690.
By 2015 it had reached $800 and in 2019 it reached an impressive $818.
Today, that figure has moved up to $876 and it’s likely to climb higher.
5. Over 90,000 Apparel Employees Are Based In The US
The latest figures relate to 2020 and show over 90,000 apparel employees are in the US.
As the fashion industry has grown every year since then, it’s likely there are significantly more US-based employees today than in 2020.
Of course, the fashion industry has an array of other employees within the fashion industry.
In fact, the latest estimate suggests that 1.8 million employees in the US are working within the fashion industry.
6. There Are Nearly 5,000 Fashion Designers Employed In The US
For the fashion industry to thrive you need designers.
That’s the people who create the latest fashion designs and then pass them on to the apparel manufacturers.
It can be a challenging job.
You need to design something that stands out on the catwalk.
But, it also needs to appeal to the everyday person.
The outfit needs to be practical, comfortable, and still break new style boundaries.
That’s not easy and explains why there are so many fashion designers.
The latest figures show there are close to 5,000 employed fashion designers in the US.
That’s a lot of inspiration.
However, it’s not the entire story.
Fashion designers are often not employed.
Instead, they work independently and sell their ideas to any interested party.
If you include employed and self-employed designers it’s estimated there are over 40,000 on the planet, and roughly half of them are based in the US.
Three-quarters of the remaining designers are based in France, Spain, Germany, and the UK.
7. Women’s Clothing Is The Largest Section Of the US Fashion Industry
It’s probably not surprising that women’s clothing takes the largest section of the US fashion market.
The latest survey looked at the statistics from 2021 but there is no reason to believe the basic facts have changed.
According to the latest statistics, this scenario is the same across the globe.
Globally, women’s fashion is worth 804 billion, while men’s fashion is worth $483 million.
Both segments of the market are expected to see growth.
It’s estimated the global menswear value will pass $740 million by 2025.
It’s worth noting that the bridalwear market is listed separately and is worth $43 million by itself.
Other Fashion Facts Worth Noting
- 10% of carbon emissions originate in the fashion industry
- COVID-19 caused a drop in fashion retail sales
- The Indian clothing market is growing rapidly
- 85% of shoppers use online & offline stores
8. 10% Of Carbon Emissions Originate In The Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is partly responsible for a significant percentage of environmental damage.
A staggering 10% of all carbon produced on the planet is a result of the fashion industry.
That’s more carbon emissions from the industry than all the international flights in the world create.
It’s not just the carbon emissions that the fashion industry should be concerned about.
A new survey shows that 85% of all textiles end up in the bin every year.
In addition, 57% of all discarded clothes end up in landfill.
To put that in context it’s like one garbage truck full of clothes being dumped into landfill every second!
The fashion industry is also polluting the seas.
It’s estimated that 35% of the plastic microfibers in the seas are a direct result of synthetic clothing.
The fibers break off and simply stay in the ocean.
Synthetic materials are common in the fashion industry as they are low-cost, effectively boosting profits.
Unfortunately, synthetic materials produce higher levels of carbon and they take longer to degrade, potentially damaging the environment further.
9. COVID-19 Caused A Drop In Fashion Retail Sales
The global pandemic hit many businesses hard, even the fashion industry was affected.
One of the biggest changes was the loss of access to physical stores.
In fact, thanks to the pandemic, retail sales in clothing and fashion stores plummeted by an impressive 28.5%.
Fortunately, the industry is well set up to bounce back.
There is an ever-increasing number of eCommerce stores.
In the past ten years, this type of shopping has become increasingly popular.
It seems likely that this trend will continue and there will be an increase in eCommerce sales at the cost of sales in physical stores.
10. The Indian Clothing Market Is Growing Rapidly
India has roughly 1.4 billion people living in the country.
It’s the second most inhabited country after China.
India is also a growing economy and a rising power in International economics.
This is reflected in its retail figures, many of which are increasing.
Of particular note is their clothing market.
According to McKinsey & Company, the Indian clothing market in 2020 reached a value of $53.7 billion.
The value has increased since.
This makes India the 6th largest clothing market in the world and the largest modest clothing market on the planet.
The increased sales in India are a sign of changing markets.
2018 was the first year that more apparel sales were made outside of Europe and North America than there were inside.
(McKinsey & Company)
11. 85% Of Shoppers Use Online & Offline Stores
A 2020 survey by McKinsey & Company found that 85% of shoppers are using online and offline stores.
This is a 5% increase from the 80% which were using both in 2017.
The increase is believed to be linked to an increase in the use of mobile devices.
As smartphones have become more powerful it has become easier to shop from your phone almost anywhere in the world.
With the various safeguards in place when you shop online and the fact it’s extremely convenient, it’s not difficult to see why more people are choosing eCommerce.
It’s the perfect way to get the best price, maintain product quality, and not even have to leave home.
(McKinsey & Company)
How much is the fashion industry worth?
Today, globally it’s close to $2 trillion.
Nearly a quarter of this value is in the US, illustrating just how important this market is both to the US and global industries.
While the industry clearly has work to do to resolve environmental concerns, the simple truth is that millions of people are employed by the fashion industry.
This needs to be considered while the industry changes its environmental approach.
One thing is certain, the industry has been growing steadily for several years.
It has a long history, and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue to grow.
Whatever the industry is worth today, it will be significantly more tomorrow.