The most stylish city in the UK unveiled

Posted: 28th August 2020 in

Eager fashion fanatics are no longer forced to take the train to London to gain inspiration as technology has allowed for fashion influence to be universal. Thanks to Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, Brits can take to social media to share their outfits and inspiration with the world rather than just their local high street.

The UK has also seen a new generation of social shoppers who regularly buy and sell their clothes on apps such as Depop, ASOS marketplace and eBay. Young people mix their style freely, visiting vintage and charity shops, popular high street names and by purchasing online to create their perfect wardrobe to share with their followers.

Whilst London was always at the forefront of the UK fashion industry, fast fashion brands have begun to operate from cities in the North, putting these areas firmly on the map. For consumers who may have previously travelled to London to gain style inspiration or to shop, a world of opportunity has opened up at their front door.

Why do we want to know which city is the most stylish?

With popular fashion brands such as PrettyLittleThing, Boohoo and Missguided choosing to base their HQs outside of London, we wanted to see how other areas in the UK fair up against London, the city previously titled the ‘World’s Fashion Capital’ by GQ Magazine, so we did some digging:

Which UK city is the most stylish: results

Ranking (per capita calculations)CityPopulationNo. of charity shopsInstagram #Fashion trends searches per month
1Manchester395,51519917,34730
2Edinburgh 464,99022812,65320
3Leeds455,1232296,52520
4Coventry359,2622088120
5Bristol617,28022910,03430
6London7,566,900311156,209480
7Glasgow591,620205883130
8Leicester508,9161893,13920
9Birmingham984,3332482,98250
10Liverpool864,12221715,76630
11Kingston upon Hull314,018224010
12Cardiff447,2872096,67210
13Birkenhead325,264197710
14Preston313,33213517610
15Islington319,1431741170
16Reading318,01412316510
17Sunderland335,4151651310
18Sheffield685,3682361,36820
19 Nottingham729,9772342,13720
20Stoke on Trent372,775105010

What do the experts say?

We spoke to Dr. Patsy Perry, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Marketing at The University of Manchester who said:

“Manchester is the home of online fast fashion and a city with a great textile heritage. As time has moved on, the city has grown to have one of the largest student populations in Europe. With students having a tendency to interpret their own style and support the vintage scene, Manchester has developed a unique fashion image within the UK.

“The style in Manchester is heavily influenced by the music scene, where we see the likes of The Stone Roses and Oasis come into play alongside rave culture and dance music influences. This is how Manchester has developed an eclectic mix of fashion styles, where grunge mixes with glam and luxury brand stores sit alongside influential indies and alternative retailers. Manchester also holds a much wider provision for menswear in comparison to some smaller cities, giving it a cutting edge against other areas of the UK.”

Hidepark’s take;

“As large retailers continue to invest in Manchester, the city is becoming increasingly relevant within the UK fashion scene. Whilst before, students interested in pursuing a career in fashion would inevitably have to move down south, the research proves a shift in the UK as cities such as Manchester and Edinburgh continue to invest in their fashion industries.

“For young people in particular, this is a victory since it broadens the opportunities available to students. Graduates are now presented with a wealth of opportunity in the North, with our research demonstrating Manchester, Edinburgh and Leeds to be leading the way for style in the UK.”

How did we conduct the research?

We wanted to get a fair idea of which city in the UK is the most stylish so we analysed multiple data points to ensure we had a fair study. To do this, researchers analysed search data, Instagram hashtags and the concentration of charity and vintage shops in the city per capita to work out an overall ranking of UK cities.

Charity shops
We analysed the number of charity shops per city and combined this with population data to gather an estimate of the average number of charity shops per person for each location.

Instagram hashtags
We scraped popular shopping orientated hashtags for each location on Instagram, combined with population data, to assess the demand in each city for engaging in the popular trend.

Google search data
We gathered search data for each city to understand and rank the cities for fashion trend searches in comparison to their population.