The value of the British fashion industry has climbed to new heights over the past five years, and is now worth GBP26bn (US$43.5bn) to the country's economy, new figures suggest.

The data, released to coincide with the opening of London Fashion Week on Friday (14 February), shows an increase of 22% from GBP21bn in 2009, according to research by Oxford Economics.

Factor in fashion's total contribution to the economy via both indirect support for supply chain industries and induced spending of employee's wages, and income is estimated to have risen by 23% to over GBP46bn.

But the number of jobs supported by the sector has slipped 2.3% to 797,000 - although this is offset by higher productivity within the fashion sector, the British Fashion Council said.