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Manchester named one of the most fashionable cities in the UK

The 'Fashion Takes the Lead' study ranks us as the top city for fashion tourism outside of London in 2024

In a new study conducted by luxury fashion brand Fairfax & Favor, Manchester has emerged as the frontrunner in fashion tourism outside of London.

The city, often affectionately referred to as Cottonopolis, has secured its position as the most influential fashion hub beyond the capital, according to the recently released index.

As the epicentre of the cotton industry, Manchester produced textiles that adorned the world, bringing not just wealth but also a profound association with apparel and an enduring confidence that persists to this day.

And with world-famous fashion brand Chanel investing in Manchester to host their having their 2023 fashion show in town last year, it’s a clear signal Manchester is the place to be.

It goes without saying we don’t need external validation for our obvious fashion prowess.

The only surprise is that we aren’t on the top spot.

Manchester boasts a distinctive fashion ethos that is uniquely its own.

Manchester fashion

Fairfax & Favor’s comprehensive analysis (view here) considered five key metrics, including the number of fashion articles mentioning the cities, Pinterest searches for travel inspiration, Instagram fashion posts, and average monthly searches for travel and hotels.

Scoring each city out of 100, Manchester claimed the top spot, showcasing its undeniable appeal to fashion enthusiasts and trendsetters alike.

The UK, recognised as the third-largest apparel and footwear market globally, continues to attract sightseers from around the world.

With a rich history deeply embedded in the evolution of the fashion industry, the country boasts iconic cities that have played pivotal roles in shaping contemporary style.

And our fashion skills are not just way back when either.

The mid-20th century saw Manchester take the lead in the UK’s fashion stakes.

Bolstered by successful football teams and a vibrant music and nightlife scene, Manchester’s self-assured style flourished.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the exhilarating Madchester years of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

During this period, a slew of creatively dynamic bands, including the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and The Charlatans, dominated the UK charts.

However, these bands were not an anomaly; Manchester had been incubating brilliant musical talents for decades, with pioneers like Joy Division, The Smiths, and New Order laying the groundwork.

The Madchester look, popularised by Tony Wilson and immortalised at the Stone Roses’ Spike Island concert in 1990, was characterised by its “baggy” style.

A fusion of football fandom and hippie influence, it included oversized jeans, long-sleeved white T-shirts, Kickers shoes or Adidas shell-toes, and bucket hats.

Yet, in the more sophisticated settings of the Hacienda and designer bars, a more refined style emerged, featuring head-to-toe designer Lycra catsuits, denim by luminaries like Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood, and ’80s favourites like Bodymap, John Richmond, and Katharine Hamnett.

The love for designer fashion has always been ingrained in the city’s cultural fabric.

Manchester fashion online

The fashion-forward city earned over 1 million mentions in online fashion articles and recorded an impressive 50,000 monthly average searches for Pinterest inspiration.

Moreover, with over 33,000 fashion-style posts on Instagram and high demand for travel and hotels, Manchester stands out as a must-visit destination for fashion tourism.

Key findings from Fairfax & Favor’s fashion tourism index

Manchester ranked second across the UK and clinched the top position outside of London.

York, though ranking 11th overall, emerged as one of the most popular destinations on Pinterest for fashion inspiration.

Glasgow secured the 10th spot overall but stood out as one of the most popular cities for Instagram fashion posts.

Liverpool and Manchester dominated the fashion press, boasting the highest number of fashion articles mentioning the cities outside of London.

As fashion enthusiasts seek to blend style influence with travel experiences, Manchester’s diverse fashion scene and rich cultural offerings make it an unrivalled destination for fashion tourism in 2024.

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