Is Your City the Student Fashion Capital of the UK?

A study by PrettyLittleThing has revealed that Birmingham is the most fashion-forward student city – followed by Newcastle and Liverpool.  

The global fashion retailer ranked university cities based on a number of factors including the number of students, their monthly spend on clothing, the number of PLT orders using student codes, which items were purchased and more.  

It was A for effort for Brummy students who secured the top spot thanks to scoring highly across factors such as their average student clothing spend at £71, student code orders, and clothing items purchased. 

Newcastle upon Tyne followed closely in second place, studying in style and spending £64 on average every month on their wardrobe must-haves. 

Known for their stylish looks and for pushing boundaries, it’s no surprise that Liverpudlians came in at third. Students here are the highest shoppers of dresses and tops, alongside purchasing the most clothing items, 44% more than Newcastle students, as well as spending the most on clothing per person out of all locations in the study. 

Interestingly, the research found that cities with the highest student population were somewhat lacking in fashion inspiration, with Coventry (19% student population) and Edinburgh (20%) coming in towards the bottom of the leaderboard at 9th and 11th. 

The top 10 most fashion-forward student cities are: 

  1. Birmingham (index score of 94.8 out of a possible 100) 
  2. Newcastle (79.3) 
  3. Liverpool (72.6) 
  4. Bristol (66.7) 
  5. Leicester (66) 
  6. Glasgow (64.5) 
  7. Nottingham (60.8) 
  8. Leeds (57.1) 
  9. Coventry (52.6) 
  10. Sheffield (41.5)   

Sophie O’Neil, senior stylist at PrettyLittleThing comments on the study:

She says: “It’s no surprise that Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool top our list, if students are following in the footsteps of style icons Liberty Poole, Abbey Clancy and Vicky Pattison. 

“These cities are a hub of fashion inspiration and we’re thrilled to see them leading the way when it comes to student fashion. Whether it’s brunch with friends in comfy loungewear, a cute co-ord for Freshers Week or a sleek little black dress to bring in the party season – there are looks for every occasion and students are levelling up this semester.” 

And with cosy season upon us, it seems UK students also love a comfy outfit during the transitional months. Further research* found the Autumn must-haves for students this year include: 

  • Hoodie (53%)
  • Jumper/sweater (43%) 
  • Jeans (36%) 
  • Cargo pants (27%) 
  • Puffer jacket (27%) 

It doesn’t stop with transitional clothing, as the data revealed students are fully onboard with rocking viral trends too – with 40% of respondents favouring the Clean Girl Aesthetic. Of course, there are other trends which students love on social media too, so expect to see Y2K (35%), Old Money Aesthetic (29%), Grunge Aesthetic (23%) and Barbiecore (16%) on campus this year. 

The Dark Academia trend – combining gothic vibes with put-together preppy style – is likely to make an appearance too, with this style revealed as an emerging trend amongst students this year. With Netflix such as Wednesday back for a second series in 2024, it’s certainly a look to keep an eye on.  

Sophie O’Neil, senior stylist at PrettyLittleThing provides inspiration on how to style it. 

She adds: “If you love the idea of knowledge and academia being romanticised, but with a gothic, moodier twist, then look no further than the Dark Academia trend.

“With both dark and muted earthy colours, this trend is ideal for those who love just a hint of grunge but still prefer to dress smart and preppy. Think white button-up shirts with a simple turtleneck or sweater, paired with tweed trousers or a plaid skirt with tights. A smart blazer, cosy cardigan or trench coat for layering is a must, and you can top off the look with some chunky loafers or boots, and a stylish messenger bag or backpack.”

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