You need dedication and passion to work in a complicated industry like fashion. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome in management and regulation.

A small clothing store can face financial difficulty if it receives fines or notices. But if you know the government rules to follow, you’ll turn any rags into your riches.

This guide discusses government regulations for a clothing store, which include:

  • Registration
  • Licences
  • Trading standards
  • Health and safety
  • Fire safety
  • Insurance

Government regulations for a clothing store:


You legally need to register your business, but how you do that can depend on what type of clothing store you set up.

Register your business

You can register through the UK government, with different portals for each type of business.

Register your trademark

Branding is the public identity of your business. If you want to build a clothing brand from your store, then it’s vital to register a trademark.

You can use this to protect your name or logo from any other businesses that aim to imitate your fashion. You’ll be able to bring legal action to any that infringe on your trademark.


There isn’t a specific licence that government regulations for a clothing store demand you have. Still, you do need one to play music.

Background music licence

Many clothing stores play music to add to their customers’ shopping experience. If you play upbeat songs, you may find that they stay longer and are more likely to purchase products.

Apply for a background music licence from PPL PRS.

Trading standards

The critical government regulations for a clothing store focus on trading standards.


To sell clothing in your store, you must follow UK government guidelines on labelling.

You can’t mislead customers with your product labels, they must accurately communicate areas of your products like:

  • Sizes (e.g. medium)
  • Prices (e.g. £12.99)
  • Materials (e.g. 100% cotton)
  • Manufacturing (e.g. made in the UK)

There are also specific laws for labels on textile products. The Textile Products Regulations 2012 mean that you must label the fibre content.

Clothing labels must be:

  • Legible — easily read.
  • Visible — easy to find.
  • Durable — lasts the life of the clothes.


Your clothing store will likely deal with customer returns, which have specific laws that you need to follow.

Trading standard regulations mean you must offer a full refund if a product is faulty or not as described. But you don’t have to if customers

  • knew the item was defective (e.g. reduced).
  • caused the damage.
  • change their minds on size or colour (only if bought in person).

If you sell clothing online, customers have a legal right to a refund within two weeks after they receive it. They don’t need to provide a reason in that case.

Import and export

You may purchase materials from other countries or sell your clothes abroad. In that case, there are strict regulations that depend on where you’d like to ship to or from.

There may be some additional steps to take with the UK government:

  • Duty and taxes — import and export fees.
  • Declarations — to clear the border.
  • Commodity codes — to show what the goods are.

Health and safety

There are particular government regulations for a clothing store to follow when it comes to health and safety. As the owner, you are responsible for these within your business.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces laws in your workplace. Even if you don’t employ workers, you must follow the law to protect customers.

Regulations focus on management and control of risks to create a safe business. For you to do that, develop a risk assessment:

  • Identify risks — e.g. clothing iron.
  • Control risks — e.g. check irons work appropriately before use.
  • Record risks — e.g. note the risk of irons.
  • Review controls — e.g. new iron could mean a new check.

Fire safety

Like the government regulations for a clothing store’s health and safety, fire safety laws also revolve around risk assessment.

The risks may be different when it comes to fire safety, and you have to think about three key areas:

  • Ignition sources — e.g. heaters.
  • Fuel sources — e.g. wood.
  • Oxygen sources — e.g. air.

Fires need an ignition source to start, fuel and oxygen to spread. So with that in mind, identify the fire risks in your business.

Aside from a fire risk assessment with the same structure as a health and safety one, there are a few other responsibilities:

  • Keep ignition sources and flammable materials separate.
  • Avoid waste build-up.
  • Install fire equipment (extinguishers, alarms, blankets).
  • Mark the fire exits and plan an evacuation.

If you don’t draw up a fire risk assessment, a fire safety officer can issue a notice after an inspection visit.


There are no government regulations for a clothing store to follow for insurance (provided you have no employees).

You don’t need insurance to follow the law, but it can still help you overcome legal problems. 

Public liability insurance

You’ll deal with the public online or in-person as a clothing store. That can lead to liability for any injuries or damage to property that may result from your business.

For example, if clothing falls on the floor and someone slips and injures themselves, they might claim against you. Public liability insurance will cover the court fees and compensation in that scenario.

Simple finances are in vogue with Countingup

With a business that follows the regulations, you also have to think about your taxes. As a self-employed person, you’ll have your income tax Self Assessment to file.

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software. It can help manage your business finance and offer tax estimations. You’ll know how much to put aside each month for your returns with the relevant information.

With its innovative financial management, Countingup can help you create a fashion-forward business.

Get started for free.