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The Best Countries to Start a Fashion Business

With the revenue of the global apparel market expected to grow by 11% in the next four years (from $1.74 trillion to $1.94 trillion)*, it comes as no surprise that more and more people are looking to start a fashion business. 

With that in mind, the wholesale experts at JOOR conducted a study to find out which are the best countries to start a fashion business. 

JOOR’s index study considers the following factors: country population, import and export figures, apparel market valuation, and number and valuation of ‘unicorn companies’ in the consumer and retail market (in business, a unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over US $1 billion). After analysing all the factors above, a final score was created to identify the best countries to start a fashion business.

The BEST countries to start a fashion business

CountryPopulationExport/ ImportsAverage Apparel Market Value Annual Growth (%)Number of unicorn companies per 1 mil peopleUnicorn Startups Sum of Valuation (Billion$)Final Business Score/10
United States331,002,6516.99032.70%0.227223.339.27
United Kingdom67,886,0115.57033.00%0.0444.398.61

Note: Export/Import ratio is a value that compares the value of a country’s exports (in the clothing and textiles industry) to the value of imports. A value greater than 1 suggests a country exports more whilst a value less than 1 indicates a trade deficit, the country imports more than it exports.

The full dataset can be found here.

JOOR can reveal that, the best country to start a fashion business is none other than the United States, with a score of 9.27 out of 10. Relevant unicorn startups in the ‘land of opportunity’ have an impressive valuation of $223 billion dollars, giving a lot of hope to new entrepreneurs who want to start a fashion business. Furthermore, the export/import ratio of 6.99 shows a higher export efflux, suggesting a surplus of materials and a well-performing market. The apparel market value shows an annual growth rate of 2.7%, too. 

In second place is the United Kingdom with a score of 8.61. Although the annual growth rate of the apparel market is higher than in the United States (3% annual growth), the valuation of unicorn startups in the consumer & retail space is significantly lower for the United Kingdom, at $4.4 billion. The United Kingdom also exports more than it imports, having an export/import ratio of 5.57. 

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Canada is the third best country to start a fashion business, with a score of 8.48/10. The value of unicorn startups comes to $12.4 billion, whilst the market value for fashion and retail grows at a steady rate of 3.5% yearly. Canada also exports more than it imports, having an export/import ratio of 6.69.

In fourth place is Germany, with a score of 7.93/10. When it comes to consumer & retail unicorn startups, the valuation sum for Germany is a whopping $14.5 billion. Furthermore, the export/import ratio is 2.08, showing that Germany exports more than it imports. The apparel market value in Germany grows at a 2.20% rate yearly.

China is the fifth best country in the world to start a fashion business, with a score of 7.88/10. When it comes to unicorn startups for consumer and retail, China takes the lead, being valued at $239 billion. Furthermore, China sees a tremendous annual growth rate for the apparel market value, at 6.30%. However, China also had the lowest export/import ratio in the top 10 countries, at only 0.12. 

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