Brexit and fashion: An Unlikely Relationship
Its not often that my blog gets political, but as a young person with strong left-wing beliefs, I think its important to get engaged, and what better outlet than Urbanity? Don't worry, I'm not going off on a rant, this is relevant to fashion, and very pertinent this week as Thursday we all vote on Britain's future in the European Union. I wanted to explore how a 'Leave' vote would affect my own future, and that of the UK fashion industry, so was interested to read some articles on The Business Of Fashion about how Brexit might affect brands.
"The most immediate impact would come from the likely depreciation of the British pound. Already, the debate over Brexit has had a dramatic impact on the country's currency....a weaker pound may force international brands to increase their UK prices". In addition, our world-class fashion education system would suffer: "British fashion education benefits from EU investment in the form of research funding and initiatives that support innovation and bring together fashion designers, manufacturers and technology partners from across Europe."
But so what if big, international, luxury brands suffer? Normal British people can't afford their high-end clothing anyway!
That's what I thought after reading this article from The Independent. However, a Brexit would also impact local businesses in several different ways. Namely, the huge benefit that easy travel and immigration brings to our industry.
A great proportion of the UK's workers in the fashion and textile industry (millions of jobs including sales assistants, lorry drivers, tailors, designers, interns, writers, seamstresses, factory managers, PR, HR, marketing, logistics, e-commerce, and so many more) are migrants from the EU. Although hopefully the case is not that people will be sent back to their original destinations, a Leave vote suggests that the government will be hesitent to allow more immigrants to our country, and visa versa. Immigration has become a dirty word, but in fact we wouldn't be such a wonderful melting pot patchwork of different cultures, communities, and most importantly skills if it weren't for people bringing their talents to the UK, and British people spreading their knowledge and entrepeneurship abroad.
"A British exit from the EU would weaken the pound, negatively impact consumer confidence, upend trade regulations and threaten the free movement of talent — all of which would be bad for the fashion industry, both here in the UK and globally."-BoF
Whatever your views, (and let me know in the comments!) please remember to vote this Thursday 23rd June 2016!