The Impact Of Brexit On British Fashion

Other | Thursday 23rd March 2017 | Katelyn

The British fashion industry contributes greatly to the United Kingdom’s economy, contributing £28 billion to the country in 2015, according to the Financial Times. It also currently supports 900,000 jobs, but what impact will Brexit have on the industry? 

With the British Fashion Council reporting that of the 500 designers it surveyed, 90% of them voted remain, it would appear that those within the industry are filled with unease at the thought of leaving the single marketplace.

One of the problems companies will have to overcome is the sourcing of their materials.

Many British brands buy their materials abroad and after Brexit the cost of these materials will most likely increase. This will in turn make products more expensive to manufacture which will force brands to increase the prices of their clothing.

Next has already announced that they will probably have to increase the costs of their clothing in the near future due to the expensive import and manufacturing prices.

In addition the British fashion industry relies on global talent as well as students who study in world-renowned fashion programmes at University.

The possibility of new border restrictions will be problematic for international job seekers who may no longer have the freedom to work and travel within the EU. There may also be changes to the Erasmus grant which helps students economically to study abroad in different EU countries.

There is also uncertainty surrounding what the change will mean for luxury businesses. On the Friday morning following the Brexit vote stocks for British fashion houses like Burberry, Mulberry and Jimmy Choo dropped sharply.

But despite the obvious setbacks Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at 10 Downing Street, reassuring people that Brexit would not be bad for the industry.

“By taking advantage of the opportunities that leaving the EU gives us and playing to our strengths as a great trading nation- we can build a fairer economy that works for all, not just the privileged few” she said. 

However, despite the uncertainty Brexit has caused it has not all been bad news for British fashion so far. Due to the weakening of the pound, which has lost more than 15 percent of its value against the US dollar since the referendum in June, exporters have received a boost in business.

For now, we can only wait and see what the lasting effect of Brexit will be on the British fashion industry.